A recent article by David Levin, Sustainability Consultant, Europe, AECOM, in the Local Government Chronicle praises Cambridgeshire County Council’s pro-active approach to the introduction of the Flood and Water Management Act and National Standards for sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) http://www.lgcplus.com/blogs/tackling-suds-in-cambridgeshire/5045693.blog.

Although the article is focused on Cambridgeshire’s response to this new change in legislation, it does act as a good example to Local Authorities (LA’s) in Wales as to how communication and coordination can help encourage increased adoption and maintenance of SuDS schemes within our local communities.

The article highlights the added pressure now faced by LA’s across the UK to adhere to the policies laid out by the Act to reduce run-off rates and help mitigate flood risk. Hence, Cambridgeshire Council’s reaction acts as an exemplar to others – promoting the benefits of combining good design of water management with the urban world.

Although this may seem like a challenge at first, Cambridgeshire Council has come full circle and transformed this idea into a reality.  By holding workshops with both local residents and Council staff to help raise awareness, understand local priorities and obtain a sense of agreement on both the approval and adoption of SuDS schemes, the Council has been successful in establishing a local vision which comprehends the benefits of these systems. The Council has also commissioned AECOM to produce a handbook that clearly states the new regulations that Developers are required to take into consideration for their designs in light of the National Standards, so that this newer, healthier vision of sustainable development can be recognised locally.

This Case Study proves that Council’s are playing a vital role in helping to secure the future of SuDS, and therefore via increased interaction and harmonization between Welsh LA’s, the aspiration that these systems may soon become a regular component to urban design seems even brighter.