EA clear to developers about managing surface water

Installing the right stormwater attenuation system is more than an operational requirement on construction projects, it’s critical to the welfare of the environment, says the Environment Agency.

What’s more, a well-designed and managed surface water system can save money and add to the visual attractiveness of the site. Using sustainable drainage (SUDS) options on a site, the Agency says, can not only reduce pollution and the risk of flooding, they can also be cheaper than more traditional drainage techniques.

Design and function is vital – a site where water is removed from it as quickly as possible can:

  • harm the environment
  • increase water pollution and the risk of flooding to the site itself and elsewhere downstream
  • cause damage to wildlife and river habitats.

In areas with combined drainage systems, for example, surface water entering the system causes polluting storm discharges and overloads treatment plants.

The Agency says the SUDS approach is the way to ensure a site is not polluting the environment or increasing the risk flooding. This approach provides a drainage solution that takes into account the amenity benefits and both the quantity of and quality of surface water run-off. Doing so helps to protect and improve the wildlife in the area and landscape and attractiveness of the site.

SUDS use a wide range of techniques that have been tried and tested on projects throughout England and Wales. They can be applied to a variety of schemes, from small developments through to major residential, leisure, commercial or industrial operations with large areas of hard standing and roof. A particular benefit is that they can be successfully retro-fitted to existing developments.

You can check out the Environment Agency’s full position on this and related issues at