SuDS loses out as Housing and Planning Bill passed into law

A requirement for sustainable drainage systems to be included in all new developments was one of several amendments deleted from the final version of the Housing and Planning Bill.

A SuDS rain garden at Ashby Grove. Image: Susdrain
A SuDS rain garden at Ashby Grove. Image: Susdrain

The Housing and Planning Act, as it is now called, gained Royal Assent yesterday (12 May). It introduces a range of changes to the planning system, including introducing 'permission in principle' – an automatic consent for building on sites identified in local and neighbourhood plans and new brownfield registers.

Further provisions would allow the secretary of state to intervene in local plan preparation and measures to boost self-build and custom-build housing.

The bill went through a period of parliamentary "ping-pong", with the House of Lords and House of Commons disagreeing over whether several amendments should be included in the final text.

Among them was an amendment requiring sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) to be included in new developments, including small-scale developments, and removing the right to connect to existing drainage systems. It was intended to help protect home owners from flooding and improve amenity and biodiversity benefits to communities.

The House of Lords produced its amendments following extensive consultation and research by its National Policy for the Built Environment Committee, with Noel Farrer, president of the Landscape Institute, among those consulted.

The amendment was withdrawn following a government pledge to carry out a review of existing planning policy related to flooding.

Baroness Parminter, who originally put forward the amendment, said she was "disappointed" it had not passed.

But she thanked the Minister for the proposed review of flood policy, "which we believe will demonstrate all too clearly that...SuDS are not being delivered". 

She called for the review to be robust, using a large sample of actual developments and to be delivered before the Climate Change Committee reports to Parliament next June.

Commentators have also speculated that more planning reforms to boost housing delivery are in store in next week's Queen Speech.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the property lobby group the British Property Federation, said: "The development industry has been waiting almost a year to find out how the starter homes initiative will work in practice, and it is good that we now have clarity."

But Leech added: "The fact that the regulations are still yet to be laid, however, casts into significant doubt whether the government will be able to achieve its promise of 200,000 homes by 2020.

"Spades are not likely to be in the ground until 2017 at the earliest, and time is certainly running out."

Leech went on to say that "speculation is rife that there may be more primary legislation to aimed at bringing forward development on the cards", with the aim of boosting housing supply.

*A version of this article first appeared on our sister website Planning Resource.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

IoG Saltex 2016 - show preview

IoG Saltex 2016 - show preview

This year's Saltex will be looking to build on the success of last year by packing in a multitude of exhibitors and sessions over the two days, Sally Drury reports.



These tidy evergreen trees are not just for Christmas and come in a range of shapes and sizes, writes Miranda Kimberley.

Tree lifting, moving  and planting

Tree lifting, moving and planting

Successful relocations can see even big trees flourish while costing less than buying new stock, says Sally Drury.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Landscape Contracts & Tenders

Industry Data

New: We have pooled the wealth of data from the past six months' worth of Landscape Project Leads to create an exclusive report for subscribers looking at the key development trends, clients and locations for 2016.