Sustainable Drainage
Strategies (SuDS) and Design

Helping you meet the surface water management requirements for your planning application

Local Planning Authorities and the national environmental agencies are increasingly asking developers to show how they’ll manage surface water for their development in the form of a surface water drainage strategy systems or a sustainable drainage strategies (SuDS) report. In some cases you may also be required to provide a second-stage report known as a detailed surface water drainage design.

Our Sustainable Drainage Strategies:

  • Are compliant with the national planning policies for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as well with the relevant environmental agency guidance and local planning policy
  • Can be written as separate reports or combined with our Flood Risk Assessments
  • Are suitable for all sizes and types of developments
  • Identify appropriate surface water runoff management options
  • Outline recommendations for sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS) following consultation with our client
  • Provide initial design parameters for drainage components, such as soakaways, ponds and streams
  • Are produced with the assistance of UKFloodMap4™ – the most complete and up-to-date data set currently available for surface water modelling in the UK

What’s a Sustainable Surface Water Drainage Strategy?

A sustainable urban drainage system (SuDS) or surface water drainage strategy is a report into how surface water, usually caused by rain, affects a site and the surrounding area. It establishes how water behaves on a site, and determines the runoff rate, flow pathways and infiltration potential (the likelihood of water being soaked into the ground).

It then investigates what effect the development will have on these issues, and outlines measures the developer can take so that runoff rates meet the requirements for the site set by national and local planning policy.

Who needs a sustainable drainage strategy?

As of April 2015, a change in National policy requires that developments of more than ten units (including residential, industrial, commercial and mixed-use sites) review the potential use of sustainable drainage strategies (SuDS) to achieve betterment on brownfield sites or restrict run-off rates to the greenfield. You may also need a surface water drainage strategy if you’re increasing the footprint of an existing site.

If your development’s within an area designated as Flood Zones 2 and 3, or an area identified as having a surface water flooding problem, you’re also likely to need a drainage strategy.

Even if your development doesn’t meet these criteria, Local Planning Authorities have the final say on who needs a strategy. It’s best to speak to your local planning office before you submit a planning application.

To check if your site is in Flood Zone 2 or 3, you can contact us or take a look at national flood maps:

Get a fast no obligation quote for a drainage strategy and one of our friendly consultants will be in touch.

Drainage Strategy and Surface Water Drainage Design –
what’s the difference?

You may only need a surface water drainage strategy for your planning application. But you may also need a second-stage report known as a detailed surface water drainage design.

The detailed drainage design provides construction details, such as pipe diameters, manhole locations and the results of on-site soil testing. Whether or not you’ll need it very much depends on the location, size and type of your development, as well the views of the EA, local utilities (water company) and your local planning authority.

Our team have a wealth of experience in civil engineering, including drainage and infrastructure design, highway alignment, and waterside and marine developments. We use the specialist Microdrainage software for our designs and can advise if you need detailed drainage design.

Benefits of SuDS

solutions compass
  • Improve your chances of achieving planning consent
  • Avoid the costs of later design changes and additional planning applications
  • Reduce the risk of flooding to the site and surrounding area
  • Improve local amenities, reduce the risk of local flooding, and increase biodiversity

How we produce a surface water drainage strategy

We use a tried-and tested three-stage process to develop your drainage strategy, download the brochure to read about these processes in more detail.


“Ambiental produced a Surface Water Drainage Scoping Report to guide a masterplan for one of our projects. They understood the brief and proposals immediately and the Report was produced promptly and in line with the timeframe they gave us.

The Report was prepared to a high standard. It was easy to read and understand and covered everything that was expected. Any questions we had that arose from the Report were promptly and comprehensively answered. I would certainly recommend Ambiental to clients for similar work in the future.”

Chris Wojtulewski, Parker Dann

Mark Naumann

Get in Touch

To get a quote or to discuss what you need, contact Mark Naumann

Call me on 0203 857 8540  Or email at [email protected]

Get a free quote from me