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SuDS Approval Body and Schedule 3 FWMA 2010

On 10th January 2023, the Defra published “the Review for implementation of Schedule 3 to the Flood & Water Management Act 2010;” this recommended implementation of Schedule 3 and the government has accepted this recommendation. Under Schedule 3, Warwickshire County Council will take on the role of the SuDS Approval Body (SAB), responsible for approval of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) then adopting and maintaining features following construction.

It is anticipated that implementation will be during 2024 with further consultations taking place through 2023 to determine statutory instruments, regulations and technical standards. Some of this is presumed to be undertaken by central government and others parts of process development will be undertaken by WCC in its role as the SAB. Warwickshire County Council Flood Risk Management team will announce more information as it becomes known.

It is expected that Schedule 3 will drive a step-change in the design of holistic SuDS systems. SuDS should meet all four pillars of water quantity, water quality, amenity and bio-diversity, already required where possible by the NPPF, being dispersed around a site and not concentrated into single, large attenuation features.

Whilst the standards expected are subject to consultation, the recommended updates to the Non Statutory Technical Standards, published in June 2021, may provide some indication of what any forthcoming standards will be based on.

With the Recommendations, a ‘SuDS approach’ is a key theme running through all the Standards and this is summarised in the following principles:

  1. Use of a ‘SuDS approach’ – this should:
    • Mimic natural drainage systems, recognising water as an asset
    • Manage surface water flooding and the increased runoff rates & volumes from development
    • Capture and treat pollutants
    • Use components as a ‘management train’ & integrate these through the landscape
    • Manage runoff close to its source, prioritising components on the surface
    • Meet the requirements for multiple benefits
  2. Early and integrated design – consider the management of surface water early and integrate this with:
    • Water supply strategies
    • The layout of roads, buildings and open spaces
    • Any bio-diversity, amenity and green infrastructure strategies
    • Climate resilience options
  3. Embed SuDS within the development planning process – demonstrate how compliance with the ‘SuDS approach’ has been achieved at all stages from strategic planning through to completion.

These then feed in to the six new standards with Standard 1 operating as a hierarchical standard and all others are fixed standards.

  • Standard 1 – Destination of runoff
  • Standard 2 – Runoff from everyday rainfall
  • Standard 3 – Runoff from extreme rainfall
  • Standard 4 – Water quality
  • Standard 5 – Amenity
  • Standard 6 – Bio-diversity

The above standards are influenced heavily by guidance within the SuDS Manual (CIRIA C753) and as such, the use of these standards should in theory not alter design. However, given current development design practices, these standards are be expected to significantly change how SuDS influence a development.

A greater use of above-ground SuDS features across a development will be expected. This includes features such as raingardens, swales and other surface conveyance techniques along with multi-functional above-ground attenuation will be expected.

In line with the principles for early engagement, the LLFA has a pre-application advice service. Please do come and talk to us about your proposals early.

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