The Welsh Government has published a Schedule 3 Post Implementation Review for Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS). Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, which requires SuDS on most new development, was commenced in Wales in 2019. (It is yet to be commenced in England).
The review is grouped into four categories: Governance & Resource, Consistency, Technical Requirements, and Affordability & Enforcement.
The review finds that implementation is working well overall.
Priority short-term recommendations are as follows:
- Initiate mandatory data collection and reporting by SABs, feeding into national annual performance reporting by the Welsh Government.
- Combine all guidance including FAQs into one clear document, consistent with the legislation and Standards. This will help to close gaps in the current documentation that result in ambiguity and inconsistency.
- Introduce standard legal forms to provide clarity on expectations and structure to the process.
- Reinvigorate a SuDS Focus Group (previously known as the SuDS Implementation Group) with representatives from across industry to be chaired by the Welsh Government with focus on delivery, sharing lessons learnt and best practice.
- Develop a national commuted sums approach including a schedule of rates and length of maintenance period. This should be accompanied by guidance on maintenance options.
- Consider the desirability and viability of a service charge approach levied by Local Authorities as a mechanism of funding long-term maintenance of adoptable SuDS assets.
- Provide a clear list of scenarios that do not require SAB approval, are deemed to comply or exemptions from requiring approval. This will support a proportionate risk-based approach to development control in-keeping with the intention of the legislation, without inhibiting or disproportionately burdening small development activities or infrastructure improvements.
- Develop a clearer, more appropriate pre-application process consistent across Wales which includes binding advice from the SAB.