Planning policy, sustainable drainage and surface water management a case study of greater manchester

Iain White, Alexandra Alarcon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As the differing sources of flood events are being more widely understood, the risk of surface water is being identified as an emerging threat for the twentyfirst century. The difficulties in accurately predicting and managing the flow of water across highly urbanized catchments has led to a more sustainable and precautionary approach being advocated, focused on the localized storage and infiltration of precipitation. Within England the use of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) has been identified as a key strand of this management challenge, with the role of spatial planning being highlighted as the main mechanism for implementation. The last decade has seen a growing SuDS planning national and local policy framework established, yet evidence would suggest that despite being enshrined in planning policy there are still few SuDS sites in operation. This research uses a case study of ten local authorities and compares the spatial distribution of SuDS sites with an analysis of the strength of the relevant local planning policy framework. Despite the pivotal role of planning in new development, it is found that there is currently no correlation between the strength of a planning policy and the use of SuDS, mainly due to the existence of wider, significant barriers affecting the development process prior to a planning application. Furthermore, the strength of policy was also said to be much less significant than the role of motivated individuals and innovative sustainability policies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-530
Number of pages14
JournalBuilt Environment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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