A new approach to Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) is being planned for England. In January 2023 The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced plans to implement Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act (2010) in England.
Schedule 3 of the Act has already been implemented in Wales, where SuDS are subject to approval by Sustainable Drainage Approving Bodies (SABs). Currently, in England, SuDS are a national planning policy requirement for major developments and whilst the same Act applies in England, Schedule 3 is yet to be implemented. However, that is subject to change. In 2019 an independent review into surface water and drainage was commissioned and undertaken by David Jenkins. The Jenkins review found that a planning-led approach alone was not going far enough to tackle surface water and drainage issues, due to a lack of consistency and no requirement for adoption. Accordingly, it recommended that Schedule 3 of the Act also be implemented in England.
DEFRA have since accepted these recommendations recognising that surface water flooding is the most widespread form of flood risk, worsened through climate change. Earlier this year DEFRA released a review into the implementation of Schedule 3, and concluded that Schedule 3 is to commence in England subject to final decisions on scope, threshold and process being consulted on.
Here we provide a bulletin with lessons from Wales on how SAB typically operates and potential implications for developments in England – SAB Bulletin.