‘Vital’ flood-protection investment welcomed
Aggregate Industries say sustainable drainage systems have a major role to play in protecting the nation
AS the Environment Agency (EA) launches its new blueprint for flood protection, Aggregate Industries have welcomed the plans, highlighting that investment in sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) has a major role to play in protecting and preparing the nation against the rising threat of flooding.
Earlier this week, the EA launched its new Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy setting out measures to build up the resilience of millions more homes and businesses, including increased investment in natural flood-management schemes and promoting property flood-resilience measures to help homeowners and businesses recover quicker after flooding.
The strategy comes in the same week the Government announced details of the £5.2 billion that will be spent on flood protection between 2021 and 2027, alongside a further £200 million for innovative resilience measures in 25 areas. Alongside this, the EA has said it is ready to deliver on flood schemes in 22 areas across England, investing £170 million to accelerate flood-defence construction in 2020 or 2021.
Welcoming the move, Paul Wagstaff, head of product management at Aggregate Industries, believes greater adoption of SuDS will be key to successfully rolling out both the EA strategy and government investment in the coming years.
He said: ‘If we look at the EA’s own figures, more than 5.2 million properties in England are currently at risk of flooding and with more extreme weather expected, including summer temperatures up to 7.4°C hotter and 59% more rainfall by 2050, we welcome this vital increased funding for flood protection and believe it couldn’t have come sooner.
‘With extensive knowledge and expertise in flood resilience, our work over the years has highlighted the very real and urgent need to incorporate sustainable drainage systems in many areas across the UK.
‘To date, this has been too slow, yet the good news is that in 2019 Wales made it mandatory to use SuDS in all new developments and we hope England will also follow suit. Whilst not a new concept, SuDS has the potential to help deliver the EA and government commitments on flood resilience over the next decade.’
According to Aggregate Industries, the use of retention ponds or infiltration systems, such as trenches and soakaways or making use of permeable paving solutions, SuDS is a holistic approach to flood management that is integral to prevention.
Mr Wagstaff added: ‘Not only can SuDS benefit new development schemes in alleviating the effects of flooding by reducing surface water run-off from hard impermeable surfaces, but there’s also a number of natural and retrofitting options available to local authorities, homes and businesses to help them recover much quicker in the event of a flood.
‘For that reason, investing in SuDS needs to be a priority sooner rather than later, especially if, as a nation, we’re truly committed to protecting our homes, businesses and public realm infrastructure from the devastating impact of flooding – now and for future generations to come.’