The Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) Strategy

Wokingham Borough Council has adopted a new strategy to ensure new developments have appropriate sustainable drainage systems to manage the risk of flooding, improve water quality, and biodiversity.  Please find below their press release:
Suds now part of major builds

Wokingham Borough Council has adopted a new strategy to ensure new developments have appropriate sustainable drainage systems to manage the risk of flooding, improve water quality, and biodiversity.

The Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) Strategy, approved by the borough council’s decision-making executive, is a blueprint based on national standards for developers and civic planning officers when designing developments ranging in size from minor schemes up to the scale of Strategic Development Locations.

SuDS mimic nature, dealing with rainfall where it falls; allowing it to evaporate or soak into the ground. Any remaining water is then drained to the nearest traditional watercourse or sewer at the same rate and volume that would have happened naturally before the new development was built.


“A healthy and safe water environment is fundamental,” said Cllr Angus Ross, executive member for environment.

“There are areas in our borough with increased risk of flooding, and some of our watercourses have poor water quality. This strategy shows how SuDS address these. SuDS use cost effective solutions with low environmental impact. They’re designed to be easy to manage, resilient, needing in some cases only sunlight to work, and are aesthetically attractive.”

SuDS are increasingly being used to counter the problems of flooding caused urbanization where natural surfaces and vegetation are replaced by concrete, asphalt, or roofed structures. Where this happens heavy rainfall cannot easily be absorbed back into the environment without overloading more conventional drainage systems, creating flooding, contaminating drinking water sources, and harming wildlife and the environment.

Examples of SuDS include basins (shallow landscape depressions that are dry most of the time when it’s not raining), rain-gardens (shallow landscape depressions with shrub or herbaceous plants), swales (shallow normally-dry, wide-based ditches), filter drains (gravel-filled trenches), bio retention basins (shallow depressions with gravel and/or sand layers), reed beds and other wetland habitats that collect, store, and filter dirty water along with providing a habitat for wildlife.

A consultation last summer into the borough’s SuDS Strategy was carried out, and the majority of those taking part were very supportive of it.
Now that the new SuDS strategy has been adopted by Wokingham Borough Council, planning applications for developments will need to meet the requirements of the local standards set out in it.
Planning application approval, if granted, will then need to include clear instructions on how the SuDS for that development will be maintained. 


Further information:More from Cllr Angus Ross, executive member for environment at email: 


  1. alan jutson
    February 7, 2017

    Sounds good, but how much does all this put on the cost of a new house ?

    Is it a proven system, if so even better as house insurance against flooding should be less expensive !

    Given that these drainage solutions are all likely to be on communal land (not on an individuals house owners property) who will pick up the tab for maintenance once the development is complete, the Council ?

  2. Richard Francis
    February 10, 2017

    There are many different types of construction apart from traditional ‘brick and block’ that can incorporate SuDS within. These newer methods can be ‘faced’ with vertical greenery. This has two distinct benefits. It remediates urban air pollution (so you do not have to implement such draconian anti-traffic measures) and it can also cut thermal heat loss out of buildings too – making them more thermally efficient.
    Given building land is getting more and more expensive – using vertical greenery with modern construction can actually be ‘cash neutral’ against brick & block, cause less storm water run-off, allow people to breathe better quality air and even grown their own food on the sides of their houses (should they choose to).

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