A little-known piece of legislation which Ministers have repeatedly resisted implementing since 2010 should finally be brought into effect in the face of growing flood risk and sewage pollution, says the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

More than 40 expert bodies, academics and delivery organisations have written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a letter. The group represent expert bodies in town and country planning, construction, drainage, water and environmental management and landscape architecture. They are joined by organisations representing water companies, water customers, environmental NGOs and leading academics in the field.

The Flood and Water Management Act was passed into law in 2010 after serious flooding in the summer of 2007 left 55,000 properties under water and more than half a million without power and mains water.

Yet Schedule 3 of the Act prescribing sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) in new developments was never implemented. Ministers feared the standards and approach it prescribed would hold back the pace of housing delivery and repeatedly resisted taking it forward.

These concerns are misplaced, the signatories argue: SuDS are not difficult to design or build, just different. If incorporated into plans from the outset SuDS can be cheaper to build and manage because they’re not buried underground. And over the decade since the Act was passed the climate, pollution and nature-decline pressures SuDS can manage have ramped-up fast.

The full piece from CIWEM can be read here. The letter sent to the Prime Minister and signed by organisations including the Rivers Trust, Wildlife Trusts, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and the Zoological Society of London can be read here.

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