From 2024 nature will play an ever more prominent part in our urban cityscapes, when natural drainage system legislation comes into force in England.
Evident to the uninitiated observer by beautiful swathes of planted areas around cycleways and other city infrastructure, the words on many of our lips in 2024 will be the aptly named term (SuDS) Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems.
These nature-based solutions emulate natural drainage reducing the volume and rapidity of water entering traditional drainage systems.
The Volos team has extensive experience in designing and integrating SuDS into its many active travel projects, both under its own banner, and previously during Volos MD Ollie Marsh’s many years working at Cardiff Council.
His role as Lead Designer on the Central Square Project and subsequent Cycleway 2 project, has helped change the urban landscape of Cardiff with beautifully contained drifts of naturally planted drainage beds.
What Changes will Legislation Bring?
Put factually, Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 will come into force in 2024 in England.
This will expedite the naturalisation of our highways and construction developments of all kinds by, removing the right for construction contractor’s to connect new developments in England and Wales to the existing drainage system.
They will only be able to connect new developments to the drainage system if they incorporate SuDS into their development design.
So, why is the rise of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems so important to modern Britain? Here we take a look and bullet-point the many benefits that plant-based drainage will bring to our towns and cities.
Addressing Environmental Concerns and more
SuDS legislation is essential for the improvement of drainage and the future of our roads because it:
- Addresses environmental concerns
- Enhances flood resilience
- Promotes sustainability
- Contributes to public safety and cost savings.
By incorporating SuDS into urban planning and highway design, we can create more sustainable and resilient infrastructure that benefits both the environment and the community.
SuDSs legislation is important for the improvement of drainage and the future of our roads for several reasons:
- Environmental Protection: SuDS are designed to mimic natural drainage processes, such as infiltration and evaporation, rather than solely relying on traditional piped systems. This helps reduce the risk of pollution from surface runoff, as SuDS can filter and treat stormwater before it enters water bodies. This, in turn, protects our rivers, lakes, and oceans from contaminants and improves water quality.
- Flood Mitigation: SuDS can help manage and control stormwater runoff effectively. By reducing the volume and speed of runoff, they can mitigate the risk of flooding in urban areas. Flooding can cause significant damage to highways and infrastructure, disrupt transportation, and lead to costly repairs.
- Resilience to Climate Change: As climate change leads to more extreme weather events, including heavier rainfall and increased flooding, SuDS has become even more crucial. These systems can adapt to changing conditions and help urban areas become more resilient to the impacts of climate change, ensuring that highways remain accessible and safe during extreme weather events.
- Long-term Cost Savings: While implementing SuDS may involve upfront costs, they can lead to long-term cost savings. Traditional drainage systems often require constant maintenance and repairs. SuDS are designed to be more sustainable and require less maintenance, reducing the financial burden on local governments and taxpayers.
- Sustainable Urban Development: SuDS are an integral part of sustainable urban planning. They encourage the development of green spaces, urban parks, and permeable surfaces, which not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of an area but also contribute to improved quality of life for residents.
- Compliance with Regulations: Many regions have introduced SuDS legislation to ensure that new developments adhere to sustainable drainage principles. This helps ensure that urban expansion doesn’t exacerbate drainage problems and that developers take responsibility for managing stormwater on their properties.
- Public Health and Safety: Proper drainage is essential for road safety. Puddles and standing water on the highway can lead to accidents and hazardous driving conditions. SuDS can help prevent such situations by managing stormwater effectively and reducing the risk of water-related accidents.
With the rise across the UK in active travel projects, cycleways, 20 mph default zones and many other innovations in which Volos is involved, urban infrastructure, the way we travel from A to B in towns and cities, together with the pedestrian experience, is rapidly transforming.
Not least, the benefits of natural planting will increasingly bring the beauty of nature into our built-up areas through the rise of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems.