Defra has set out new regs on housebuilding which will require developers to make fewer connections to mains sewers and drainage systems. In theory this should lead to reducing the localised flood risk during times of heavy rainfall, as the land will act as a sponge.
Here’s some text from the proposals;
“Managing water in an integrated way includes managing rainwater as close to where it falls. This can contribute towards environmental benefits, from increased biodiversity and habitats and reduced storm overflow discharges, mitigate climate risks and boost growth and wellbeing. It should be treated as a valuable resource and stored for reuse for the benefit of people and the environment, not mixed with sewage or other contaminants. If it cannot be stored for reuse or discharged to the ground, it should be slowly channelled to a close watercourse without mixing it with sewage.
If fewer new connections are made to combined sewers through introducing more sustainable drainage systems (SuDS), it will reduce the pressures on the sewers, reducing surface water and sewer flood risk, discharges from storm overflows, pollution whilst unlocking land
improving biodiversity and amenity.”
In heavily built up areas where spare grassy areas or woodland is rare, due to the value it has to housing developers, it is hard to see how rainwater can be channelled into bio-diversity spaces, unless a huge infrastructure programme is being undertaken by Councils. The same goes for underwater storage and reservoirs, which are a very good idea, but require large scale planning, protests, enquiries, inspectorate reports etc.
Martin Milliner, Claims Director at LV= General Insurance,
“The recommendation to make sustainable drainage systems mandatory for new developments in England is crucially needed to safeguard housing in the UK and protect homeowners.
What’s also concerning is the number of houses being built in either areas at the highest risk of flooding or areas already highly urbanised, putting extreme pressure on existing houses and increasing their surface water flooding risk. Our research into planning applications has found this is happening, which could significantly put an ever-increasing number of communities at risk, and flood claims where drains were unable to cope has increased by 211% in the last four years. Therefore, the robust planning and design of sustainable drainage systems is to be welcomed to ensure that homeowners are protected for the future.”
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