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A simple guide to Sustainable Drainage Systems for housing (NF22)


This guide on sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) for housing developments explores the concept of sustainable drainage, offering insight into the options available at the site control level. It introduces the concept of SuDS, examines regulatory requirements and provides technical information on the selection of SuDS devices and techniques.

The basis for SuDS is explored with reference to government policies Sustainable Construction and Future Water, and implications of the Ground Water Directive are explained.

Summary of content

This guide aims to provide general guidance on the concept and use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) to aid the management of surface water in housing developments. It is to inform designers, developers and other stakeholders such as local authorities and property owners about the incorporation and use of SuDS in housing schemes.

This guide is not intended to be a design guide to SuDS but to inform those involved in small developments and in-fill projects of the concept of SuDS, and to give insight into the options available at the site control level.

SuDS schemes need to cover three main aspects of surface water management: water quantity, quality and amenity. The aims for sustainable development for housing, including the provision of SuDS, are based on two main government policies: Sustainable Construction and Future Water. These policies require all developments to consider and provide adequate drainage and management of surface water. SuDS solutions must not cause an impact on the quality of the groundwater or the water catchments of the local water bodies which can subsequently impact on the water supply and increase the burden of further treatment costs for water companies (as required by the Water Framework Directive).

The incorporation of SuDS aims to balance environmental, social and economic requirements for a site development to provide a sustainable, healthy, pleasurable environment for the new housing community as well as adequate management of surface water drainage by attenuating excess stormwater flow to reduce risk of flooding which would have an impact on the social community.