A leading supplier of water management and stormwater control systems has welcomed the greater recognition of the flood risks posed by surface water in the Government’s National Flood Resilience Review – and restated the crucial role of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in managing this type of risk.
Dr David Smoker of ACO Water Management, a leading innovator in sustainable surface water management systems, believes the official recognition of risks from surface water flooding will bring a greater focus on the problems specific to urban areas in future studies such as the imminent 2016 National Risk Assessment (NRA) - and the contribution of SuDS to tackling this issue.
According to figures from the Environment Agency, some 3 million properties nationwide are at risk from surface water flooding – also known as ‘flash flooding’.
Dr Smoker explained: “Previous NRAs took minimal account of the impact of surface water flows. The 2014 NRA, for example, considered two flooding risks, coastal and inland, but the inland aspect focused almost exclusively on the issues of fluvial (river) flooding.
“However, in the course of reviewing these risks for the National Flood Resilience Review, new modelling has confirmed the potentially severe consequences of surface water flooding. It has also acknowledged for the first time the varying distribution of fluvial and surface water flood risk across the UK – with surface water flooding the biggest risk in urban areas.
“The 2016 NRA will therefore separate out fluvial and surface water flood risks and so enable a much more targeted approach to planning for and managing the risk of surface water flooding – both nationally and locally.
“This will be accompanied by a wide-ranging review of planning legislation, government planning policy and local planning policies around sustainable drainage in England – which will inform the work of the Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Committee on Climate Change and, in turn, its 2017 progress update on the National Adaptation Plan.”
According to Dr Smoker, this process will reposition the focus on SuDS as a key contributor to flood risk reduction in urban areas.
“There have been many fine examples of SuDs implementation in the last decade but even now each project still has to be argued on its merits. Some contractors have remained unwilling to embrace SuDs to the point at which it becomes the normal way of managing flood risk. This has not been helped by a lack of strong legislation and a focus on ‘big ticket’ projects in other areas such as river defences.
“However, as well as the messages coming out of the Resilience Review, a Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology POSTnote in June entitled ‘Adapting Urban Areas to Flooding’ highlighted that there is no single solution to urban flooding and that SuDs is a vital part of a raft of measures needed to reduce this risk.
“It is my hope that we are getting close to the tipping point at which SuDS, properly integrated into a strategic flood risk management programme, becomes the default process to manage surface water in urban areas.”
For further information visit www.aco.co.uk .