Surface Water Flooding – CIWEM Policy Recommendations.

Stephen Bradley


Surface water flooding in Birmingham

Due to changes in weather patterns and increased urbanization, surface water flooding is a growing threat across England to businesses, infrastructure and people. CIWEM, the Chartered Institute of Water Engineering and Management, has published new evidence on the growing threat of surface water flooding and the quality of sustainable drainage in England.

The report makes policy recommendations to simplify approaches to natural flood resilience through sustainable drainage and make its uptake and upkeep more affordable, in relation to the major drive to construct new housing spurred by the Housing and Planning Act 2016.

Noting that 1 in 6 homes in England are at risk of flooding, the report warns we must take care not to increase risk by building without sustainable drainage solutions.

Based on evidence from a major independent survey, it shows if properly planned, Sustainable Drainage Solutions (SuDS) can not only address surface water flood risk but quickly, affordably and holistically enhance local water balance, pollution control, wildlife support and community open space.

The survey report shows that reasons for inadequate take-up of SuDS are “political and institutional rather than technical or financial”. As a consequence many developments are missing out on these benefits and planning authorities lack the capacity to adequately judge the merits of applications in respect to sustainable drainage. It urges the government, through its pending review of law and policy on drainage in new developments, to systematically address the scale and extent of SuDS implementation and monitoring.


Full report available here

Source: Grant, L., Chisholm, A., and Benwell, R. 2017. A Place for SuDS? Chartered Institute of Water Engineering and Management, London.