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SuDS hold up planning applications in England


A report suggests that planning applications in England are twice as likely to be blocked or delayed due to sustainable drainage system (SuDS) design compared to applications in Wales.

The report, produced by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), and piping manufacturer Wavin, is entitled SuDS – Perception and Progress: A Comparison of England and Wales.

The key finding is that 60 per cent of SuDS professionals in England experienced planning application delays or blocks in comparison to only 30 per cent in Wales because of refusals on the grounds of the SuDS design.

The regulatory frameworks for SuDS in England and Wales are different. Wales introduced legislation in January 2019 that makes SuDS a mandatory requirement for all new developments of more than one house or where the construction area is 100m2 or more.

According to the report, SuDS is more likely to be the preferred method of surface water management in Wales than in England. In Wales, 62 per cent of professionals consider SuDS to be the default option in all projects compared with only 39 per cent in England.

Nathan Baker, knowledge director at ICE Engineering, said: “SuDS are increasingly needed in both urban and rural developments to cope with flood risk due to climate change and changes in land use as a result of increasing population.

“As well as helping to protect homes and businesses from flooding, SuDS also provide benefits such as improving water quality, protecting biodiversity and increasing the amenity of developments. Delivering SuDS requires an appropriate regulatory framework and also effective collaboration between different stakeholders and professional groups.”

The report highlights 62 per cent of SuDS professionals in Wales rate the framework more positively, with only a 40 per cent rating that way in England.

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