What are the Benefits of SuDS for Developers?

As a supporting member of Susdrain, we recently attended the 2023 Project Steering Group meeting in London. One of the key discussion points concerned how the wider benefits of  SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) were being explained to the developer community.

At GeoSmart, we have a key role in connecting best practice with industry and to dispel the myth that the imposition of a SuDS condition can render sites economically un-viable.

On the contrary, these benefits should be at the forefront of specifying development schemes to support the planning approval process.

Scientific consensus, Government policy and planning authority drainage strategy all agree with the acceptance that we need a more sustainable approach to managing surface water. Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) form a key part of natural flood management techniques in the mix of overall flood resilience. They can also form a key part of a development site’s value proposition – how it contributes to enhancing the local community and environment – as well as ensuring that the development does not contribute to flood risk elsewhere.

Developers and their architect/planning consultant partners can use SuDS to engage multiple stakeholders and to support the business case to partnership fund delivery and maintenance – which has again been another traditional sticking point.

The Five Key SuDS Benefits for Developers

As members of Susdrain, we support the following key benefits (Enlarge image here)SuDS benefits infographic

  1. Speeds up the Approval Process

A well designed SuDS scheme encourages a faster approval process and facilitates a more positive planning outcome – particularly where it is central to the LPA’s drainage strategy.

  1. Saves Capital Costs

There is strong and growing evidence that developments including SuDS are cheaper than traditionally drained sites – examples in Cambridge (11%) and Leicestershire (16%) point the way.

  1. Makes the Development more Attractive

SuDS add to the aesthetic quality of a development, promote health and well-being and create better places to live, work and play.

  1. Offers a Premium on Sales and Rentals

Susdrain estimates that land values and house prices located next to high quality SuDS, with well maintained open spaces including ponds and swales can attract up to 10% additional premium on the property sales price.  Where rentals adjoin attractive water features, rental rate increases of 3-13% have been achieved.

  1. Could Reduce Maintenance Costs

SuDS integration ensures space is allocated efficiently and can also reduce maintenance cost. The development at Lamb Drive in Cambridge saw a 4% cost reduction at just £38 per property per year versus a traditionally drained system, according to the Susdrain Case Study.

Understanding the Cost-Benefit of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS).

So, there are some clear examples of improvements to return on investment by implementing SuDS on site. Developers must weigh up tangible costs in monetary terms on items such as capital outlay, with those that are more intangible – or create a wider value to society, such as improving and reducing flood risk for the wider community.

Susdrain identified the peak flow of surface water runoff in three Scottish schemes was at least 50% lower than traditional drainage for a neighbouring site.

SuDS can also reduce the impact of developments on the water environment by removing up to 90% of pollution from runoff.

This can add reputational value to the developer and its brand, both with the community, but also with planning authorities who will better understand their ethos and approach, which will chime with policy that is moving inexorably in favour or SuDS.

Getting SuDS Right for your Site

To meet the opportunity and requirements within the Master Planning process, architects, planning consultants and developers must ensure they get the fullest possible site appraisal on drainage conditions and suitability for SuDS measures.

Our sustainable drainage reports provide a review of surface water drainage options for the site, run off calculations and the drainage strategy. We provide all the essential data sets (on ground infiltration suitability, surface water courses, sewers) and calculations required, in an appropriate format making the pre-planning engagement process easy with the relevant Local Planning Authority. Our reports include SudSmart, SudSmart Plus and SuDSmart Pro depending on your requirement

Contact us today on 01743 298100 or email us at enquiries@geosmartinfo.co.uk to gain an insight into the local requirements for SuDS and if you have any projects you require assistance with.