The water sector has urged MPs to support a “vital” new clause added to the Housing and Planning Bill by the House of Lords, which would ensure flood prevention measures are put in place at new housing developments.
Amendment 110 – which would remove the automatic right to connect surface water to the public sewer system – is due to be discussed in the House of Commons on Tuesday 3 May.
Representative body Water UK said it will ensure that the use of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) are considered in relation to all new developments regardless of scale, as developers would not have the “simple alternative” of disposing of surface water via the sewer system.
Currently, developers are encouraged through the planning system to install SuDS on new developments. But they retain the legal power to demand a connection to the sewer system to handle water runoff from new homes. There is therefore no effective sanction where sustainable techniques are not implemented.
The amendment was put forward by Baroness Parminter during report stage in the Lords earlier this week, with support from across the House, and was accepted by a large majority.
Last winter thousands of people’s homes were ruined from floods, and there are more than five million homes at risk from flooding.
SuDS are a range of schemes developers can put in place around new homes to better manage the water from heavy rainfall and prevent flooding. They also help prevent sewers from flooding people’s homes.
Water UK said the new clause would ensure that practice in England is brought in line with current practice in the rest of the UK, which have more extensive SuDS standards or requirements.