Select Committee at Cornwall Council

Catch up this week (after Crowd Funding for 2 months) including being questioned as a Witness at The Flood Risk Management Select Committee.

Cornwall Council’s Scrutiny Management Committee arranged the Select Committee in order to seek assurance that Cornwall’s flood risk management authorities are working together to mitigate flood risk and maintain a clear strategy for the future. Generally of course we are very pleased to be working with Cornwall Council as Chair of Cornwall Community Flood Forum,  I presented my view on all the questions, but with no mistake I presented my views on SUDS ‘enthusiastically’. I’m sure they will take this to their Cabinet. If they do take my message to central government, I will be delighted and they would have made a valuable decision.

What are SUDS?

Susdrain.org: 

Drainage systems can contribute to sustainable development and improve urban design, by balancing the different issues that influence the development of communities. Approaches to manage surface water that take account of water quantity (flooding), water quality (pollution) and amenity issues are collectively referred to as Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS).

SuDS mimic nature and typically manage rainfall close to where it falls. SuDS can be designed to slow water down (attenuate) before it enters streams, rivers and other watercourses, they provide areas to store water in natural contours and can be used to allow water to soak (infiltrate) into the ground or evaporated from surface water and lost or transpired from vegetation (known as evapotranspiration).

What happens to SUDS if the development management company fail or go under?

Under the Flood and Water Management Act the Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) approval process was going to be closely linked to the planning process. Once commenced, the Act would have required that future construction which has drainage implications will not be able to take place until approval of the drainage system has been given by the SuDS Approving Body. It does this by requiring drainage systems to be approved, against a set of National Standards. It would have been the role of the newly established SuDS Approving Body (SAB) within Devon County and Cornwall Councils, to approve, inspect, adopt and maintain sustainable drainage systems for new developments exceeding one property.

So, whats the problem?

Made on: 18 December 2014 Statement Made by: Mr Eric Pickles (was The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government) from 6 April 2015:

Under these arrangements, in considering planning applications, local planning authorities should consult the relevant lead local flood authority on the management of surface water; satisfy themselves that the proposed minimum standards of operation are appropriate and ensure through the use of planning conditions or planning obligations that there are clear arrangements in place for ongoing maintenance over the lifetime of the development. The sustainable drainage system should be designed to ensure that the maintenance and operation requirements are economically proportionate. **The Government will keep this under review**

The consultation was published under the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Relative sea level (sea level taking into account changes in land height) in the South West has risen by approximately 250mm since 1916, thats around a ¼ of a metre in 100 years.

Whats the view given to Select Committee?

The decision in December set the whole ‘exciting’ SuDS Approving Body (SAB) plans back by a decade!

The government are building 24,000 house a year they know will flood

There isn’t the money we have enjoyed to deal with the trauma, aftermath and clear up

Flooding will only get worse (3 minutes from 1.22-1.25)

The solution?

Utilise the Select Committee’s powers to inform their Cabinet and particularly urge them to take the message to central government.

What can I do?

Write to your Councillor today, copy and paste this article and just ask the question, “With all the new development, you really need to make sure SUDS are maintained when the developer has gone, please can you ask Government to restore plans for SuDS Approving Body’s”

They will reply, let us know how you got on, thanks.