Why Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) should be considered in urban planning

Good SuDS strategies can:

Reduce the risk of flooding by slowing down and storing rainwater before it reaches existing drainage systems or rivers;

Improve the quality of water by removing pollutants, such as sediment and nutrients, before they reach surface water bodies;

Create habitats for wildlife and increase biodiversity, by creating areas of wetland, ponds, and other features that can support a range of species.

These systems mimic natural water drainage patterns whilst serving a development, and can include features such as rain gardens, permeable paving / surfaces, green and blue roofs, swales, and ponds.

As part of their work for the redevelopment of The Pressworks on Northwood Street, a former jewellery factory in Birmingham, Principal Civil Engineer Chris Croft and SD Civil Engineers undertook an initial assessment of the wider site and designed a SuDS strategy.

Shown here is the attenuation tank and associated chambers nestled inbetween the proposed and existing structure. Careful coordination of these elements was necessary to achieve a fully compliant SuDS strategy.

They started by considering:

The presence of green space for swales;

Whether there was an opportunity for green or blue roofing;

The viability for landscaped features that could include biodiversity elements;

Client appetite for eco / sustainable elements.

The resulting scheme, rooted in principles from the Adopted Birmingham Development Plan design guidance, carefully designed to avoid below ground obstructions, tucked a neatly designed attenuation tank, vortex flow control and biodiverse rain garden into this compact development, catering for all design storm events and inclusive of climate change allowances. 

It goes to show that even in compact, urban environments, there is always potential for good SuDS design!

If you have a project that requires Sustainable Drainage Systems then get in touch with us at mail@sd-engineers.com.