Flood Ark

Why Parliament MUST Review the Use of SUDS In Future Planning

30/09/2016 Car driving through surface flooding

In May of this year we wrote a blog titled ‘Lobbyists Prevail to Detriment of Future Flood Victims’. We spoke about the voluntary agreement which had been put in place which encourages developers to install sustainable drainage systems (SUDS) in new build properties. It is clear to many in the industry that SUDS are needed, with existing drains and sewers regularly being overwhelmed by extreme downpours.

Despite that agreement being in place, it is incredibly frustrating that many developers are still choosing not to install SUDS in new developments – we can only presume because it impacts upon their profit margins. An amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill was proposed by Baroness Parminter of the Liberal Democrats, Baroness Barbara Young of Labour and crossbench peer Lord Kreb which would have made SUDS compulsory. Whilst the bill passed into royal assent in May, the government agreed to review its current policy on sustainable drainage in April 2017. 

Fast forward a few months to September and we have finally been able to examine the findings of the delayed National Resilience Review. The review was prompted by the severe flooding of recent winters and criticised the government for not fully taking into account the effects of global warming when planning for future flood planning. The review found that: 

  • Winter monthly rainfall could be 20-30% more extreme in the future.
  • 350 critical infrastructure sites, including water and telecoms, are at serious risk of flooding – each potentially impacting 10,000 people 
  • £12.5 million will be allocated for more temporary flood defences, such as barriers and pumps at strategic locations around the country. 
  • Four times as many temporary flood barriers will be available this winter. 

The extra investment and additional flood barriers all sounds very encouraging, but unfortunately the review has completely overlooked what is the major cause of flooding in the UK - surface water flooding. You only need to look back at our blog from last week to see the threat posed by flash flooding and it is expected that in the years ahead climate change will cause more frequent and intense rainstorms. A recent article in the Guardian newspaper article reminded us that:


  • In 2007, flash flooding caused £3billion worth of damage and caused 13 deaths in what the Environment Agency described as a “national disaster”.  
  • In 2013 the Environment Agency showed that 3 million properties in England alone were at risk of flash flooding. This compares with just 2 million at risk of river and coastal flooding. 
  • Flash flooding is responsible for most insurance claims made each year, with 20,000 sewers overflowing annually in the UK. 

“This review was launched because the government was caught out by recent flooding. It deserves credit for admitting that ministers have previously misunderstood and significantly underestimated the probability of flooding. However, it is disappointing that the government chose to ignore surface water flooding during the review, even though it poses a threat to more properties in the UK than does coastal and rival flooding” - Bob Ward, Policy Directors at the Grantham Research on Climate Change 

With all of that in mind, we are already looking ahead with much anticipation to the revision of the Lords amendment in April of next year. The dots are all there – flash flooding has caused significant damage in the past, flash flooding continues to cause damage today and flash flooding will only increase in its frequency and extremity in the future. It doesn’t take a genius to join up the dots and come to the conclusion that SUDS are an essential part of future flooding prevention and must be made compulsory.  

If you would like more information about our range of flood barriers, get in touch to arrange a FREE survey of your property. You can do so by calling us on +44 (0) 1603 879977 or dropping us an email to info@floodark.com.