Stormwater management is close to the heart of GreenBlue Urban. This month has seen us assess the best-practice methods, products and case studies within our industry, conclusively finishing with our ‘Festival of Ideas, Guest Panel Webinar’. Combining the Blue with the Green was famously the deciding factor on our company name change back in 2013, when Greenleaf became GreenBlue Urban.
Our key focus for this month’s webinar ‘SuDS, Slowing the Flow’ was to ensure our industry is planning for SuDS early on, being the driving force to produce successful schemes. Putting nature at the core of working strategies is key to adding value to all development projects. Emphasising that solutions should not be restricted to “bomb-craters” in the ground – as trees and green infrastructure play an important role in addressing flood risk.
We were delighted to welcome key influencers within the SuDS community to join our panel:
Firstly, we were introduced to Sue Illman, a 2021 SuDS champion nominee, specialising in sustainable drainage systems who discussed the way policy is heading. Sue confirmed that our SuDS policies are improving, and useful resources are now available. Covid has shone a light on how vital our natural environment is to us and how taking a ‘SuDS approach’ early on in the design creates an identity for spaces and places for the people. The ‘Building better, building beautiful’ committee report highlights how beauty in our schemes is an opportunity to effect change for our surroundings.
The key highlight was the very recent launch of the DEFRA research report on recommendations to update the Non-Statutory Technical Standards for Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), recommendations are to update to 6 standards as follows:-
- Standard 1: Runoff destinations
- Standard 2: Everyday rainfall
- Standard 3: Extreme rainfall
- Standard 4: Water quality
- Standard 5: Amenity
- Standard 6: Biodiversity
We will all be watching closely as to how this progresses!
Next, we were presented to Bob Bray a multi-award winning landscape architect with a particular interest in sustainable drainage designs. Bob was involved in creating the ‘4 pillars of SuDS’ and was awarded the ‘Susdrain lifetime achievement award.’ Bob advised on how we can manage the flow controls and sub-catchments through source control on our projects, helping catch pollution. Advising that if SuDS is designed properly from the outset it is not expensive and brings many costs benefits to a scheme.
GreenBlue were also delighted to welcome Paul Hargreaves from Jacobs, who has worked on many different schemes from town centre enhancements to landfill remediation. The last 15 years have seen Paul focus on surface water management as a civil engineer. Paul presented to our webinar audience the ‘Sidmouth Amphitheatre’ project, describing how Sidmouth has a background of flooding. Devon County Council as the client commissioned the Phase 2 alleviation scheme, using the valued wooded area, Knowle arena, with many onsite constraints Paul and his team successfully dealt with the water catchment in a visually pleasing manner for the residents.
Finally, Robert Widd, Arboricultural Officer at Milton Keynes Council and Chairman with the Arborist Society, Vice-Chair at the East Anglian branch of the Arb Association and owner of Bob Widd Associates demonstrated their plans for ‘fixing the links’ in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire and how they were able to justify the funds for the complete regeneration of the area to create a high-quality public realm scheme. He included the case study at Brunel Roundabout and provided detail on the below-ground constraints and the step by step process of successfully planting eight trees in GreenBlue Arborflow SuDS tree pits to alleviate surface water flooding.
In conclusion, we are all responsible for dealing with the water on our properties. If we can capture rainwater as soon as it is has fallen and held water back we will all be slowing the flow. GreenBlue Urban has multiple case studies that demonstrate the stormwater management issues very well by using our ‘ArborFlow system’ and ‘The HydroPlanter’.
We encourage everyone to give it a try – and break down barriers.
If there is a need for support, the industry representatives are available to assist. It gives us great pleasure to announce the flow is certainly going the right way in our industry, and educating others and working together is vital if we are to invest in our future generations and green infrastructure for them.