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Sustainable Development: Thames Gateway

Volume 474: debated on Monday 21 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to promote the development of sustainable drainage systems within new and existing developments in the Thames Gateway growth area; and if he will make a statement. (198989)

Planning Policy Statement 25 on Development and Flood Risk (PPS25) advocates that regional planning bodies and local authorities incorporate policies for furthering the use of sustainable drainage systems (SUDS) in their regional spatial strategies and development plan documents. They should also ensure that their policies and decisions on applications complement building regulations on sustainable rainwater drainage. This gives priority to the use of infiltration drainage systems over watercourses and then sewers. PPS25 also encourages local authorities to promote the use of SUDs by developers when they design their developments.

However, the principal obstacle to the increased take-up of SUDS is the lack of clarity over where responsibility for the ownership and long-term maintenance and renewal of SUDS infrastructure should lie. These issues are currently being addressed through a specific DEFRA work stream and have been the subject of informal consultation with the National SUDS Working Group. DEFRA is consulting on options for the responsibility for ownership and maintenance of SUDS as part of the current consultation on Improving Surface Water Drainage. This consultation was launched alongside the Government's Water Strategy in February 2007 and will close on 30 April 2008.