We are delighted to see the news that the government has accepted a review to implement Schedule 3 to the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, which will mandate sustainable drainage (SuDS) in new developments.

The review recommends that the government must act and implement Schedule 3 to the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 as written, with the unitary authority or, if there is not one for the area, then the county council as approving bodies.

This follows the letter sent to Rishi Sunak encouraging him to implement schedule three of the 2012 Flood and Water Management Act as a matter of urgency. Phil Williams, who heads up EPG, was pleased to be one of the forty signatories on the letter, alongside other leading figures from engineering and environmental groups.

The review recommends implementation subject to final decisions on scope, threshold and process once a full regulatory impact assessment has been completed. The assessment will look at different options and the expected costs and benefits. This will ensure a consistent and more effective approach in using SuDS to help address the impacts of climate change, urbanisation and increasing population while achieving multiple benefits such as reducing surface water flood risk, improving water quality, and harvesting rainwater to meet current and future needs.

However, these benefits can only be realised if SuDS are designed, constructed, adopted, and maintained to national standards for the lifetime of the development.

Implementing Schedule 3 will guarantee this is achieved. The review recommends that successful implementation of Schedule 3 will require professionals with the skills and knowledge to design, construct, assess and maintain SuDS. It also recommends that actions are developed to ensure there is sufficient access to the right skills and capabilities to deliver and maintain SuDS

Defra will carry out a consultation in order to collect views on the impact assessment, national standards and statutory instruments in 2023.