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Sustainable Drainage - An Overview

On 7 January 2019, Schedule 3 of the  Flood and Water Management Act 2010 relating to Sustainable Drainage comes into effect.

From this date, surface water drainage for new developments will have to comply with mandatory National Standards for Sustainable Drainage systems. These standards are currently published as the ‘Statutory National Standards for sustainable drainage Systems (SuDs) in Wales.’

What is Sustainable Drainage?

Further information about Sustainable Drainage can be found on the Susdrain Website.

Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) are a collection of surface water management practices that aim to align modern drainage systems with natural water processes.

The SuDS approach to surface water drainage regulated by the SAB contributes to the well-being goals within the framework of the Future Generations (Wales) Act. Specifically:

  • A Resilient Wales - SuDS enhance the natural environment promoting biodiversity with healthy functioning eco systems.
  • A Healthier Wales - SuDS promote open green spaces that facilitate physical and mental well-being.
  • A prosperous Wales - SuDS promote an innovative low carbon society that takes into account the likely future pressures of flood risk, the environment and water resources such as climate change and urban creep.
  • A Globally Responsible Wales - SuDS promote the environmental well-being of Wales by integrating ecosystem services into modern drainage systems, designed to manage rainfall at source to  minimise the risk of flooding. 
  • A Wales of Cohesive Communities – SuDS look to maximise attractive, safe and well-connected communities through the use of the SuDS Management Train which maximises the delivery of benefits for amenity and biodiversity.

What is the SAB?

The SuDS Approval body (SAB) is a statutory function which the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 established to be delivered by the Local Authority. All developments must have approval by the SAB prior to commencement of construction work with drainage implications.  Where an application for sustainable drainage is submitted, the SAB will approve or reject the application based on its compliance with the National Standards which comprises of:

  • 11 Principles which underpin the design of surface water management schemes and
  • A further 6 standards which have been produced to provide the ‘Minimum Design’ criteria that all SuDs should satisfy which should cover not just construction but the future maintenance of the sustainable drainage.

Following the first working day it receives a validly made application, the SAB must determine an application within 7 weeks, or 12 weeks where an application is subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment under the Town and Country Planning Act.  

please Note

Please Note:     

  1. Approval must be given before construction work with drainage implications may begin.
  2. This Process is in addition to and is outside requirements of the  Town and Country Planning Act  


Statutory Instruments

Following the Commencement of Schedule 3 FWMA 2010. The Welsh Government Subsequently approved the Statutory Instruments on the 15th October 2018. The published Instruments include:

  1. The Sustainable Drainage (Approval and Adoption Procedure) Regulations 2018
  2. The Sustainable Drainage (Application for Approval Fees) Regulations 2018
  3. The Sustainable Drainage (Approval and Adoption Order) Regulations 2018
  4. The Sustainable Drainage (Appeals) Regulations 2018
  5. The Sustainable Drainage (Enforcement) Regulations 2018

How to Apply

To make a Sustainable drainage application, please visit the Sustainable drainage application page.

To make a Pre-application to the Sustainable Drainage Approval Body please visit the Pre-application page.