Scottish SUDS success clouded by adoption and maintenance  reluctance

Those involved in the delivery of sustainable drainage systems (SUDS) in Scotland say that progress is being hindered because of a reluctance to adopt and maintain them.

This is despite powerful legislative drivers which have enabled practitioners to successfully design and deliver SUDS, according to a report published this week.

Conducted by Hydro International in association with the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and British Water, the report  sets out to gauge how successful professionals believe Scotland has been in delivering SUDS and what further barriers there might be to progress. 

It also aimed to identify lessons learned as England and Wales prepare to implement new national standards for SUDS – now expected in 2014. 

Of the practitioners surveyed, the majority (96.8 per cent) believed Scotland has successfully implemented SUDS since the implementation of the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act (WEWS) in 2003. 

However, very few (2.4 per cent) believed it has been completely successful.

A number of respondents expressed frustration that authorities had been slow to adopt SUDS systems, regarding this as a significant barrier to progress.   Most believed regulation and guidance to be insufficiently clear for both maintenance (59.8 per cent) and adoption (67.1 per cent) and most (77.8 per cent) felt there was inadequate funding for the adoption and maintenance of SUDS in Scotland.

Alex Stephenson, director of Hydro International’s UK Stormwater Division and chair of British Water Sustainable Water Management (SuWM) Focus Group, said:  “Whilst Scotland has led the way in implementing SUDS, there are some important lessons to be learned.  In particular, there are considerable frustrations in the number of SUDS features being adopted and maintained effectively in Scotland and this has implications on both sides of the border.”