SuDS maintenance funding arrangements could be a ‘logistical nightmare’

Written By: County Drainage Engineer, Oxfordshire County Council

for Gordon Hunt blog

Local authorities still have some big questions over the funding of SuDS schemes as we move towards full implementation of the Flood and Water Management Act.

I was attending a Flood Management Conference just before Christmas and was sat listening to a senior official from DEFRA explaining how the funding would be provided to maintain development’s SUDs after the Act comes into force in Oct 2012.

From what I understand, the Government is proposing to fund all non-highway SUDS on developments which receive planning permission after October 2012. This is fine except that where we have large developments, which are built over 10+ years, we will be in the situation that part of the development will require commuted sums for their SUDs and part will be funded by the Government.  This I believe will cause logistical nightmares for SuDS Approval Bodies (SABs). It would make more sense to include the whole development within the Government scheme provided of course the SAB had made sure the design and construction of the SUDs had been carried out to National Standards.

I also do not envy the task DEFRA has set itself deciding what level of fees the SAB’s will receive for the different SUDs adopted as they will need to include for the different soil conditions, which we have all around the country as they will affect the performance of the SUDs as well as their maintenance.

In Oxfordshire where I live we have flooding in a lot of the major towns due to the Water Companies Surface Water Sewers not being able to cope with the storms, which we all experience in todays climate. These sewers have not being upsized to cope with the increased size of the building within the towns or the weather patterns. It is therefore important as we are doing in Oxfordshire to check the planning applications of all developments and make sure that any discharge to a SWS are as an overflow only, and all discharges go via. soak aways or porous surfaces, so the flows are reduced and the time of concentration is increased. It is therefore a mistake not to include small developments at the start, as these are the ones which affect all our towns.

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