Did you think SUDS were just soapy bubbles in the washing up bowl?

Under the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011, it is a requirement (with two exceptions), to ensure that such discharges will pass through a sustainable drainage system, or for short, SUDS. If you live or work in a rural area, SUDS are a natural and an affordable approach to managing the discharge of surface water from your land, development or property.  They work by slowing and holding back the water that runs off from a source, but then efficiently allows it to drain into the ground; they can also be designed to trap any solid pollutants which are then broken down by natural processes.

SUDS consist of simple gravel beds to stepped systems with “detention basins”.  Some examples that you may have seen round and about are: “Green roofs”, permeable paving, filtration trenches and purpose built motorway surface run off ponds and wetland areas.

What are their main benefits?

SUDS are great at preventing local water course pollution because their main feature is to slow down and capture surface water run-off before it reaches a local river; as mentioned previously, they can also incorporate a design feature to naturally break down contaminants that may be present.

The action of reducing the speed of the flow can also decrease the risk of flooding, particularly from sewers in urban areas during heavy rainfall.

Lastly, they help to re-charge the groundwater, and provide essential and valuable habitats for local wildlife.

How can I get financial help?

The Scottish Rural Development Programme offers competitive funding programmes for any project that will make an improvement to the environment. More information on the scheme can be found at their web-site http://www.gov.scot/Topics/farmingrural

Want to know more about SUDS?

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency has a wealth of information “on tap” for businesses and landowners that are interested in implementing a SUDS.


Berry Environmental is owned by Paula Gilfillan and offers advice and training on environmental risk to consultants, businesses and organisations.  They are based just outside of Lockerbie in Dumfries and Galloway.

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