Updated client advice with sustainable drainage policy
Instances of flooding are more and more common, so it is no surprise that policy and guidance information on Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) was issued. Its purpose is to try and ensure that housing and other developments are built on land with sufficient and suitable SuDS in place. Here we look at what the new guidance means and the impact that it might have.
According to the NHBC, the number of new houses approved to be built in 2015 was more than 156,000. However although new housing is required to meet the demands of the market, the suitability of the land that is being built on is also vital. Housing developments mean new infrastructure such as roads and pavements, which can cause excessive amounts of water to enter the sewer system, such that the system cannot cope. Policy requirements for SuDS were published in April 2015, expanding on the Floods and Water Management Act 2010.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has identified more than five million homes and 300,000 businesses at risk of flooding. This demonstrates the importance of SuDS in new developments. The Local Authority SuDS Office Organisation (LASOO) has been keen to emphasise that discussions should take place about this issue prior to land being acquired for development. It is important for any homeowner or business to keep track of their property when it comes to damage or repair which is why some companies like propertyinspect.com are recommending to use a Property inspection app to record all the work being done in your house. This is especially important if you have been unlucky enough to get any water damage from flooding or drainage problems.
What lawyers need to know
Guidance has also been published which is aimed at lawyers who deal with environmental, planning and commercial property issues, including the solicitors’ duty of care when it comes to dealing with drainage issues. Other issues that commercial property lawyers should be aware of on sites including SuDS are maintenance of drains and sewers, if they are not connected to the public sewer, and rights of access including easements.
Whether you are a lawyer or developer client, this article should leave you better informed about SuDS. Awareness and understanding of compliance in this area is important before a planning application is even submitted. Lawyers working in the areas of planning, environmental law and commercial property should all be familiar with SuDS, to ensure compliance by clarifying drainage requirements for a particular site, coupled with overall site suitability.