Page 5

evolutionSummer2015

3 Development of a rain garden, Derbyshire Street Pocket Park, Bethnal Green, London. Courtesy of London Borough of Tower Hamlets Evolution cover photo: Water Colour, Redhill, Surrey. Courtesy of Studio Engleback Our discussions were framed around five key questions below: Q What significant and positive changes to you think have occurred since publication of the first edition of the SuDS manual in 2007? The interviewees concurred that it was the 2007 floods, subsequent Pitt Review and the Flood and Water Management Act (FWMA) 2010, which formed the basis of raising awareness of SuDS over the past 10 years. DB talks about the progressive nature of SuDS gradually becoming acceptable, reiterating how implementation of SuDS was a “key recommendation of the Pitt review after the 2007 floods". CD notes, how momentum was lost through the delay in implementation of Schedule 3 of the Act. While BM acknowledges that all the technical skills were available in 2007, which is demonstrated in the content of the original SuDS manual. According to BS the biggest change has been the handover of responsibility for SWM from the Environment Agency to lead local flood authorities (LLFAs). While there has not been a huge and rapid uptake of SuDS since 2007, BWB can see steady improvement with the implementation of some excellent schemes demonstrating collaborative efforts and providing emerging SuDS champions with material. However industry can do better, as CD notes “we haven’t necessarily seen the likes of Upton or Lamb Drove repeated across a whole host of areas”. SuDS are still being poorly implemented, and BWB believes that this is often due to a lack of professional collaboration and where SWM has not been considered early enough in project design and planning. BWB believes that better monitoring over the past 10 years, could have informed a more confident approach to the implementation and acceptance of SuDS. CD recognises that there is still a long way to go to prevent “so-called SuDS schemes being represented as end of pipe projects and bomb craters, rather than distributed measures". CIRIA’s Paul Shaffer suggests that end of pipe schemes “are indicative of surface water being viewed as a problem rather than an opportunity or resource that can be creatively and cost effectively exploited". Q How accepted and mainstream has SuDS become as an alternative to traditional below ground drainage systems, and what part has CIRIA played in that time frame? The experts acknowledge that many more people are engaged and SuDS are increasingly being incorporated into new developments. However they were still not viewed as ‘mainstream’. DB considers that some stakeholders do not fully understand the benefits of SuDS. He talks about “scepticism around costs and benefits, a sluggishness to enable legislation, and uncertainty over their adoption”. Long-term maintenance over the life span of a project is seen as an area of critical concern. BS sees uptake as being disappointingly “slow and fragmented". However he believes that “an increasing number of stakeholders recognise the potential value in SuDS, with SuDS forming an integral component of future policies”. BWB thinks other countries are leading the way, with SuDS becoming normal practice. There is speculation as to what reasons are preventing the concept of SuDS from becoming broadly accepted. Many believe lack of funding and political will is to blame, but also pertinently, risk aversion fuelled by perceptions of insufficient evidence. BWB notes how the legislative and planning characteristics of local authorities (LAs) and sewerage undertakers can complicate matters over connective policies on planning, regulation, approval and adoption. This is a concern shared by BM who notes that by not legislating, developers may believe that “if we don’t have to do it we won’t". Many practitioners delivering exemplar SuDS would refute this by suggesting there is enough evidence now to suggest that SuDS can create better places and spaces. “We have eight years more experience of designing and constructing SuDS, which is a good thing. The legacies are mixed – we have a number of inspiring schemes championed by visionaries and great teams of designers and we have some less satisfactory outcomes ……. where the benefits and opportunities associated with surface water management are not considered early enough or where construction practices have been poor". Bridget Woods-Ballard, HR Wallingford


evolutionSummer2015
To see the actual publication please follow the link above