Arup has supported Welsh Government in reviewing and reporting on the implementation of Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.

The legislation provides a framework for approving and implementing drainage systems, introduces a sustainable drainage system approval body in local councils, and national standards for designing, constructing, operating, and maintaining sustainable drainage systems throughout the development's lifespan.

First introduced in January 2019, the legislation was implemented in response to the increasing risks of urban flooding and watercourse pollution experienced by towns and cities, resulting from increasing urbanisation, population growth and climate change.

Arup has worked closely with Welsh Government to review the impact of this legislation. Our approach focused on meaningful engagement with stakeholder across Wales and, through a combination of large-scale engagement events, questionnaires and targeted discussions, feedback was captured from over 300 organisations and individuals.

The legislation and associated Statutory Standards promote sustainable water management practices that are integrated into communities, while promoting nature recovery through the use of green infrastructure solutions. Welsh Government’s policy objective is to deliver effective, multi-purpose SuDS in new developments that will be maintained and remain effective for the lifetime of the developments they serve.

Our recommendations are grouped under four categories – governance and resource, consistency, technical requirements, affordability and enforcement. Some recommendations require changes to legislation (and standards), while others require guidance and tools to support the process.

While the review solely focused on Wales, the findings will be of interest to stakeholders in England where implementation of similar legislation is expected during 2024.

The review has found challenges during the implementation phase which is to be expected from a step-change in legislation. As the industry adjusts to a new model, building capacity is key to increasing the number of successful SuDS schemes in the future. In response to these challenges, our experts have worked collaboratively with key actors across the industry to identify practical solutions to overcome these obstacles.

Chris Ellis

Associate, Arup