Marshalls questions SuDS enforcement

Hard landscaping manufacturer Marshalls has questioned local authorities for not enforcing existing Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS), as local communities across the UK continue to be affected by floods.
In relation to the recent flooding, Lord Smith, the chairman of the Environment Agency, warned that a choice had to be made between protecting either “town or country” from the worst effects of flooding, as he claims that there is “no bottomless purse” to subsidise defences.

Chris Griffiths, Marshalls water management expert, said: “Lord Smith’s position is not an unreasonable one. As members of the Flood Protection Association, Marshalls understands that protecting against the devastating effects of floods is a difficult and expensive undertaking.

“However, as the UK’s largest landscaping manufacturer, we are acutely aware of the possibilities which exist to minimise the risk of inland flooding in the first place – largely through the installation of SuDS such as swales, rain gardens, green roofs and permeable paving. Legislation already exists to ensure that these practises are followed in both the building of new developments and the renovation of existing landscapes – but these regulations are rarely enforced in England and Wales, which means that the likelihood of flooding is growing rather than reducing.

“In addition, the introduction of the National SuDS Standards has been delayed yet again, leaving designers and contractors free to leave the drainage of their developments to standard, traditional means – which usually involve antiquated and limiting point drainage systems.”

Griffiths concludes: “The 2010 Flood and Water Management Act has still yet to deliver any meaningful results, and the media focuses all too frequently on last-stand defences rather than the long term solutions of mitigating flood risk. We would like to understand why, when the news broadcasts the devastating effects of floods on a daily basis, existing SuDS planning legislation is not enforced. We would also like to know why the release of the National SuDS Standards, which seem to be welcomed by everyone within the water management community, continues to face delays after more than three years.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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