flooded new builds

Council proposes to mitigate flood risk with new planning guidance

7 September 2023

Cheshire East Council aims to introduce a new planning document, setting out the council’s proposals for mitigating flood risk, harnessing rainwater capture, and living with changing weather patterns.

The guidance seeks to reduce the risk of flooding and harm to people and property by encouraging appropriate design measures in new developments. It also recognises the environmental, health and wellbeing benefits that the presence of natural water can bring to the borough – whether it’s canals and rivers, ponds and lakes, or man-made water infrastructure within new developments.

A four-week public re-consultation seeking the views of residents, businesses and those involved in new development, on a new supplementary planning document on sustainable urban drainage systems  SuDS started yesterday.

The document, if approved, seeks to provide greater clarity to developers, landowners, communities, and decision-makers on the council’s approach to securing sustainable drainage systems in future developments, to relieve pressure on the traditional drainage network and improve the social, environmental and economic quality of new development. 

This supplementary planning document will help to inform planning decisions in the future and guide developers towards sustainable water management solutions.

SuDS  can take many different forms, such as green living walls and roofs, permeable surfaces, ponds, more green spaces, and rain gardens, where foliage and plants help soak up rainwater and slow its flow into watercourses and drainage systems. Narrow man-made channels and open gullies, running through new developments, could also be used to manage heavy rainfall and reduce the risk of flooding. 

Sustainable urban drainage systems can help to increase resilience to flash-flooding when severe bursts of heavy rainfall overwhelm traditional sewerage and drainage systems. These episodes are often linked to climate change and are becoming more frequent in the UK. 

Cllr Sam CorcoranCouncillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “Some extreme weather events, such as heavy rainfall, are often linked to climate change and if this is to be a pattern going forward then we need to prepare for these flooding events, whether they are sporadic, minor or extensive.

“While we are taking steps to protect our communities and property, we also want to develop the positive outcomes from this initiative, such as creating new spaces for leisure, education and wellbeing. Sustainable urban drainage systems, such as new ponds and watercourses, will help to enhance the quality of new development and become wildlife habitats, as well as playing an important role in reducing flood risk.”

Developing a policy in Cheshire East, based on sustainable drainage systems, would boost biodiversity, mitigate flood risk, recapture the natural water cycle landscape and make a significant contribution to the council’s commitment to becoming a green and sustainable borough, achieving a better quality of place.

Further information on the council’s environment strategy can be found at: Draft CEC SuDS SPD (cheshireeast.gov.uk)

To take part in the consultation please visit: https://cheshireeast-consult.objective.co.uk/kse/folder/29414