Sustainable urban drainage can usher in urban wetlands and other wildlife-friendly green spaces, says RSPB guide

RSPB with the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust has launched a new manual on the benefits of Sustainable Urban Drainage systems (SUDS) and how they can uher in quality green spaces.

The manual, Sustainable Drainage Systems, maximising the potential for people and wildlife – a guide for local authorities and developers, aims to make use of natural features to protect homes and businesses from future flooding and provide a safe habitat for wildlife at the same time, said RSPB urban advisor John Day.

Recent flooding showed our overloaded sewage system could no longer cope with the rainfall running off our paved urban areas. To adapt to a changing climate and protect rivers and beaches from pollution we needed to stop treating rainwater the same as waste water.

"Sustainable urban drainage systems provide the ideal opportunity to bring urban wetlands and other wildlife-friendly green spaces into our towns to provide high-quality public green space in which to relax, play and enjoy wildlife."

The document said the National Planning Policy Framework made it clear local authority plans should seek to protect the natural environment and that policies recognised the wider benefits of ecosystem services.

"They should capture multiple benefits from land use including wildlife, recreation, mitigation of flood risk and carbon storage," it said. "Clearly SuDS have a central role to play in delivering these multiple benefits."

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