Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)
All new developments of more than one house or where the construction area is of 100m2 or more require sustainable drainage to manage on-site surface water.
Surface water drainage systems must be designed and built in accordance with mandatory standards for sustainable drainage published by Welsh Ministers.
These systems must be approved by the local authority acting in its SuDS Approving Body (SAB) role before construction work begins. The SAB will have a duty to adopt compliant systems so long as it is built and functions in accordance with the approved proposals, including any SAB conditions of approval.
Which legislation are we referring to?
Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act (FWMA) 2010 requires surface water drainage for new developments to comply with mandatory National Standards for sustainable drainage (SuDS). The statutory standards will be published by Welsh Government in the autumn but in the meantime, we recommend that you refer to the statutory national standards for sustainable drainage systems and the CIRIA 753: The SuDs Manual.
Schedule 3 to the FWMA 2010 also places a duty on local authorities as SuDS approving body to approve, adopt and maintain systems compliant with section 17 of the schedule. For further information on the legislation, please go to the Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.
What exactly is a SAB?
The SAB is a statutory function delivered by the local authority to ensure that drainage proposals for all new developments of more than 1 house or where the construction area is 100m2 are designed and built in accordance with the national standards for sustainable drainage published by Welsh Ministers.
- evaluates and approves drainage applications for new developments where construction work has drainage implications
- adopts and maintains sustainable surface water drainage systems according to Section 17 of Schedule 3 (FWMA)
- has powers of inspection and enforcement
- uses discretionary powers to offer non-statutory pre-application advice
What does it mean for my development?
Whether you are a developer, an agent or an individual seeking planning permission for a development, if your development is of more than 1 house or of 100m2 or more of construction area you must also seek SAB approval alongside planning approval. You will not be allowed to start construction until the two permissions are granted.
Existing sites and developments with planning permission granted or deemed to be granted (whether or not subject to any conditions as to a reserved matter) or for which a valid application has been received but not determined by 7 January 2019, will not be required to apply for SAB approval.
However, SAB approval will still be required if the planning permission was granted subject to a condition as to a reserved matter and an application for approval of the reserved matter is not made before 7 January 2020.
Some exemptions will apply:
- Construction work which does not require planning permission is excepted from the requirement for SAB approval, the exception does not apply where the construction covers an area of 100m2 or more.
- Whether or not planning permission is required, construction work involving the construction of a single dwelling house, or other type of construction, which covers an area of land of less than 100m2, is excepted from the requirement for approval.
How do I seek SAB approval?
a) SAB pre-application not linked with planning pre-application process
The SAB will offer a chargeable pre-application service to discuss in detail your site's drainage requirements and what needs to be submitted with your application. This service will be separate from the planning pre-application service so early engagement between yourself and relevant services will need to take. This will ensure suitability of proposed SuDs design in line with national standards and adequate site layout. This service will be valuable to developers to help limit delays and reduce costs in the long term.
b) SAB pre-application merged with planning pre-application process
The SAB will offer a chargeable pre-application service to discuss in detail your site's drainage and what needs to be submitted with your application. This service will be offered with the planning pre-application advice should you wish to receive it. This will ensure suitability of proposed SuDs design in line with national standards and adequate site layout. This service will be valuable to developers to help limit delays and reduce costs in the long term.
Full applications must be submitted to the SAB for validation and must be accompanied by:
- a plan specifying the construction area and the extent of the drainage system;
- information on how the construction work will comply with the SuDS Standards;
- information requested in the application form checklist;
- the appropriate application fee.
The SAB will have 7 weeks to determine applications other than those requiring an Environmental Impact Assessment, in which case it has 12 weeks.