Council approves call for consultation response to seek legal clarity of SuDS responsibility

Council approves call for consultation response to seek legal clarity of SuDS responsibility

Councillor Brian Pope

Adam Morton

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Adam Morton

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Local Democracy Reporter

Monday 4 July 2022 22:00

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is to call for new legislation to define exactly who is responsible for the provision and long term maintenance of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS).

The local authority has been asked to provide its response to a consultation on the Department for Infrastructure (DfI)’s proposed revision to legislation concerning water, flooding and drainage.

Earlier this month, Councillor Brian Pope said both DfI’s proposals and the council’s response did not go far enough to adequately tackle the climate emergency.

He urged the council to tell DfI new legislation, that clearly sets out who is responsible for the ownership and maintenance of SuDS, is required.

At the monthly meeting on Monday, June 27, the changes to the response, as suggested by Cllr Pope, were brought before members for approval.

Proposing the recommendation to agree the proposed changes and submit the consultation response, Cllr Pope said the need to bring forward legislation concerning SuDS is all about protecting “leisure users of our rivers and lakes”.

“I want to propose we approve this response,” said Cllr Pope.

“It is to do with the long term maintenance of SuDS and bringing that into legislation and the consideration of making SuDS mandatory for all new developments.

“This is really to protect leisure users of our rivers and lakes from the harmful effects of surface water pollution and also protect biodiversity and fish.”

Councillor Sam Nicholson seconded the proposal but said the response should also call on NI Water to adopt these SuDS.

“I am happy to second the proposal to accept the recommendation but I would like the response to be a bit more definitive,” he said.

“NI Water should adopt these SuDS systems. If the developer is going to put them in, I think NI Water should be adopting them. NI Water adopt storm systems at the minute as part of the process and if there is going to be an insistance on SuDS, which I have no issue with, they should be adopting them too.

“There are different types of SuDS to both prevent flooding and help the quality of water that goes into the rivers and I think NI Water need to step up to the plate and adopt these if developers are willing to pay for them within their systems and I would like that to be added in to our response.”

The proposal to accept the recommendation and submit this response, including Cllr Nicholson’s comments was then approved by the chamber.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service earlier in June, Cllr Pope said he believes the changes he is calling for are vital if the Department actually wants to see SuDS treatment schemes being used in the long term.

“Without clarifying exactly who will adopt and maintain these SuDS treatment schemes over the long term, backed up by legislation, I don’t believe they will be used,” he said.

“We already have had guidance on SuDS treatment for many years but this has failed to have an impact.

“In order to reduce hydrocarbons, pollution and smaller silt particles discharging to our watercourse, which is bad for biodiversity, fish and our leisure use, it is vital a mandatory requirement for all new development sites including housing, commercial and retail to include SuDS treatment facilities is introduced.

“I cannot emphasise the mandatory requirement for all new developments enough as I don’t believe they will be installed without the authorities insisting on SuDS treatment for all planning consents.”

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