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Share your views on the draft updated Non-Statutory Technical Standards for SuDS

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

We welcome your views on the draft updated Non-Statutory Technical Standards for SuDS.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has commissioned research to explore whether updating the English Non-Statutory Technical Standards for SuDS (NSTS) could help deliver SuDS that provide multiple benefits beyond managing surface water runoff, contributing to improved climate adaptation, health and wellbeing and better places and spaces.

This research is being undertaken by a consortium led by HR Wallingford that includes CIRIA, McCloy Consulting, Illman Young and others. A key part of our work has been to understand how the current NSTS are used, and to recommend how they could be improved to manage local flood risk and deliver multiple benefits. This included an online survey where everyone with an interest in SuDS delivery, particularly those who approve, design and commission SuDS for new developments in England, was invited to provide their feedback.

The feedback showed that there was a wide range of different interpretations of the current NSTS with respect to managing surface water runoff from both greenfield and previously developed sites. Respondents also suggested that there were a number of constraints that impacted on the ability to apply the current NSTS. These included lack of technical understanding of the ‘hydraulic standards’; lack of consistent guidance; and challenges with delivering ‘volume control’ and ‘storage requirements’.

The majority of respondents agreed that the NSTS should be updated to include multiple benefits. ‘Management of water quality’ was the most desired benefit not currently in the NSTS, closely followed by ‘improvements in biodiversity’ and ‘climate resilient development’.

As well as using the feedback from the survey, we have also:

  • carried out a series of online workshops with focus groups,
  • talked to Welsh stakeholders about lessons they have learnt from the implementation of the statutory Welsh SuDS standards,
  • reviewed other available evidence (including previous relevant surveys), and
  • carried out hydraulic testing of alternative methods used for applying the current hydraulic standards.

Bringing all of this information together has resulted in a new set of draft standards, which cover the following:

  • Standard 1: Prioritising runoff destinations
  • Standard 2: Managing runoff from everyday rainfall
  • Standard 3: Managing runoff from extreme rainfall
  • Standard 4: Water quality management
  • Standard 5: Providing amenity value
  • Standard 6: Providing biodiversity value

Standards 7 to 14 in the current standards have not been reviewed at this stage.

This second survey,, asks for feedback on the suitability of these updated standards to deliver multiple benefit SuDS. 

The survey is open until 23 November (extended from 16 November).

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