If you have submitted a planning application recently chances are you may have been asked to provide a SuDS Pro-forma…but what on earth is that?
This week as part of our series on the early planning process we will be taking a look at the SuDS Pro-forma document in more detail, finding out what it is, what information is typically required and why developers need to know about them.
So, what is a SuDS Pro-forma?
A SuDS Pro-forma is simply a form which has been developed to improve consistency and ensure that key information is submitted with relation to Sustainable Drainage Proposals.
If required, it will need to be submitted as part of your planning application, although it is important to note, that this will not replace any requirements for a Flood Risk Assessment or Drainage Strategy.
What will you need to include?
Different authorities have different requirements, so in the first instance, it is always worth holding those early discussions and downloading a copy of the form. Typically, however, the form can usually be broken down into four sections:
- Site and project information – this is where you will provide an overview for your project including details of your proposed development, a brief site description and any drainage requirements.
- Proposed discharge arrangements – There is usually a requirement here to run through the hierarchy of discharge and demonstrate in the first instance if there is an opportunity to reuse any water on the site. If this is not possible you will need to provide details about the ground conditions and confirm whether infiltration could be an option. The next stage would be to confirm if there is an opportunity to discharge into a local watercourse and only if you can prove that all of the above is unfeasible can you connect into a public sewer.
- Drainage Strategy – This section of the form is used to provide information on your drainage strategy and is your opportunity to show how you have prioritised SuDS within your design. You must demonstrate how you have first looked to incorporate SuDS systems that manage water close to the source and meet the four pillars before working your way down the hierarchy.
- Other Supporting Details – You can use this section of the form to provide any additional information which may help support your planning application. This can include documents and drawings such as:
- Proposed Layout Plan
- Proposed Landscaping Plan
- Maintenance Strategy
- Detailed Drainage Drawings
You can also use this section to demonstrate how your proposed SuDS strategy improves water quality, biodiversity and provides opportunities to create amenity spaces.
Where are they being implemented?
Currently, SuDS Pro-formas have been requested by authorities in Birmingham, the North West of England as well as 33 London Authorities.
Likely, other councils will soon follow suit and therefore it is worth taking the time now to get familiar with the form and the information that you will potentially need to submit.
But surely all this form filling is going to take me more time and cost me more money!
That all depends on how you look at it and what you usually submit as part of your planning applications.
If you usually just submit a Flood Risk Assessment, in the short term, yes, there could be some additional work, but on the whole, it is likely to make the process much smoother.
There is also the advantage that you will know exactly what information you will need to provide which will not only help you develop the scope for your consultant but, it will also likely result in you getting fewer conditions attached to your application. As most councils are now charging you to discharge these conditions this will help to reduce your overall costs. It will also prevent a lot of the toing and throwing that can happen in the planning process as you will be able to check your application is compliant before submission.
So, what are councils hoping the Pro-forma will achieve?
Generally, councils are hoping that the submission of pro-formas will provide more clarity for developers and ensure that better, more comprehensive and concise information is provided about sustainable drainage proposals. In the long term, this should make it easier for systems to be adopted by Water Companies by ensuring that designs meet the requirements set out in the Design and Construction Guidance.
As a general rule of thumb, completing the pro-forma, will enable you to get off to the best possible start when it comes to your drainage design, by ensuring you know exactly what information you need to submit as part of your planning application.
If you want to know more, Innoyze recently gave a webinar which went through some of the existing SuDS pro-formas, SuDS Approval Body requirements and the Design and Construction Guide to help highlight what to look out for in the drainage design output.
Or why not head over to the contact page now and get in touch to talk about how completing a SuDS Pro-forma could benefit your project.