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Flood and Water Management: Legislation and You

What does the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 mean for developers?

The way water is managed in the UK is changing and the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 sets out who is responsible for national and local water management from all sources including tides, rivers, surface water, groundwater and sewers.

What relevance does the Act have to your business?

There are the three parts of the Act we think are most relevant to developers.

1. Approval of Drainage Schemes

The Act encourages the use of sustainable urban drainage (SUDS) in new developments and re-developments. It does this by establishing a SUDS Approval Body (SAB) which will be either the County Council or the Unitary Authority depending on where your development is located.

Whether your scheme requires planning permission or not, if the proposals affect the ability of the land to absorb water (for example, increasing hard standing like tarmac or concrete on a site) you will need permission from the SAB prior to construction. They will ensure your proposals will not result in a net increase in surface water runoff.

The process for these approvals is not yet known but we expect them to be made public in early 2012.

2. The automatic right to connect to the public surface water sewer is removed.

The automatic right to connect to the public surface water sewer is conditional on meeting the requirements of the SAB and we will be bound to adhere to National Build Standards for SUDS. These standards are not yet produced but we expect them, along with Sewers for Adoption 7th Edition, in early 2012.

The Act also requires local authorities to adopt SUDS schemes.

The use of SUDS does not necessarily result in increased costs. If you are planning a development, we can help minimise the impact of the new requirements on your bottom line.

3. Non Performance Bond

You may be required by the SAB to provide a non-performance bond that will be sufficiently large for defects to be corrected prior to a SUDS scheme being adopted.  The cost of the bond would not be larger than the cost of the SUDS scheme; however, it’s worth including this in project budgets as the Council is unlikely to take on the risk of the scheme not being completed without the bond.

The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 will change the way we undertake developments of all size and type. It is clear to us that the County Council will have a significant role in approving schemes whether planning permission is required or not.

As the National Build Standards for SUDS and Sewers for Adoption 7th Edition are to be published early in 2012, we expect that developments will need to comply early next year. We will update our website to let you know when and what you need to do. So keep checking back.

At R G Parkins & Partners Ltd, we are ready for the change. Call us to find out how we can help you with your SUDS design.

Published: 18/10/2011

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