Tackling floods with sustainable urban drainage

Around two million properties worth £200 billion are at risk of flooding in England and Wales. Following the Pitt review of the 2007 summer floods, local authorities are responsible for coordinating flood management.

Sustainable urban drainage systems, or SUDS, offer a combined response to flood risk, and adaptation to climate change. SUDS mimic natural water systems, slowing water down to reduce flood risk whilst managing pollutants on site. As well as being environmentally friendly and minimising surface water run-off and flood risks, they offer neighbourhoods multiple benefits, including attractive planting features and increased biodiversity. They are an increasingly important part of our green infrastructure.

What people are saying

Put to the test by Oxfordshire’s floods

Barry West, highways adoption officer, reveals how the county has coped with a series of flooding events through integrated planning.

Living with flood risk in Cambridgeshire

Mark Vigor, director of strategic planning, describes how an EU-backed sustainable drainage system has eased residents’ flood risk.

What people are doing

Two case studies feature successful adaptations to cope with heavy rain and floods:

Green Streets, Portland, USA

Attractive curbside planters absorb flash flood water run-off - essential in a city with nearly a metre of rainfall each year.

Bristol Business Park, Bristol

The park’s sustainable drainage was designed to maximise commercial space and protect the nearby village from flooding.


Sustainable Places

CABE’s new web resource helping towns and cities to prepare for a changing climate explains the multiple benefits of SUDS.

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