SRA Annual Report 2019-20: Introduction to Urban Water Management section (Workstream 3)

2019-20 summary

Work on the production of Somerset-specific guidance for high quality Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), following the publication in 2018-19 of a major SRA review of SuDS across Somerset. Also drawing on lessons from the SuDS review, countywide SuDS inspections have been carried out at sites being built. SuDS initiatives in Taunton, and a Yeovil SuDS and surface water study, have progressed.

The first aim of this workstream is to reduce local flood risks. The second is to make places better to live and work.

The SRA’s focus is largely on Sustainable Drainage Systems, known as SuDS. When it rains, SuDS help to control the run-off of water from hard surfaces like roads, roofs and pavements. SuDS use techniques inspired by nature – such as permeable paving and plants and ponds – to absorb water and hold it back. SuDS can make places greener and more attractive, healthier for people and better for wildlife, with less pollution.

More could be done across Somerset to use SuDS to their full potential. A massive SRA review found little evidence of developers deliberately considering water quality, biodiversity and amenity. Amenity means features such as paths for walking around SuDS or play areas making imaginative use of rainwater. Some sites had missed opportunities.

Through this workstream the SRA seeks to encourage more high-quality SuDS on new developments and at existing sites which can be retro-fitted. Methods used include encouragement, investigation and demonstration.

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