Advice note: Sustainable drainage guidance, Harrogate Borough Council

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government laid a Written Ministerial Statement in the House of Commons on 18 December 2014 setting out changes to planning that will apply for 'major' development. Planning policy has been strengthened on the provision of sustainable drainage for 'major' planning applications, which was introduced from 6th April 2015 (paragraph 103 of National Planning Policy Framework). The purpose of the changes is to ensure that sustainable drainage systems for the management of surface water runoff are put in place unless demonstrated to be inappropriate. This confirms that in considering planning applications, local planning authorities should satisfy themselves that the proposed minimum standards of operation are appropriate and ensure through the use of planning conditions or planning obligations that there are clear arrangements in place for ongoing maintenance of sustainable drainage systems over the lifetime of the development.

Major development is development involving any one or more of the following:

The provision of dwellings/houses where

  1. the number of dwellings/houses to be provided is 10 or more; or equivalent non-residential or mixed development as set out in article 2(1) of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England Order 2010); or
  2. the provision of a building or buildings where the floor space to be created by the development is 1,000 square metres or more; or
  3. development carried out on a site having an area of 1 hectare or more

Defra and DCLG have produced a set of non-statutory Technical Standards and Supporting Information that need to be complied with.

Decisions about the suitability of sustainable drainage provision are made by the local planning authority. However, under The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) Order 2015, which came into force from 15 April 2015, North Yorkshire County Council in its capacity as Lead Local Flood Authority for North Yorkshire, became a statutory consultee for all major applications to ensure that the local planning authority has access to appropriate and professional technical advice.

It is not now acceptable to presume that surface water drainage will automatically be dealt with under reserved matters. The local planning authority must be satisfied that major development can be adequately drained in principle without increasing flood risk elsewhere, before outline planning permission is granted. If applicants are unable to provide comprehensive details at outline/full application stage, they should fully explain which elements are unavailable and why.

What does this mean for applicants?

December's Written Ministerial Statement sets out new policy on sustainable drainage systems which should be read alongside the NPPF. This means that sustainable drainage systems are a material consideration in all major development, irrespective of location, wherever sustainable drainage systems would be appropriate.

Consequently there is an expectation that robust and sustainable arrangements for the maintenance of sustainable drainage systems will be put in place. Applicants will need to submit sufficient information, both in respect to the design of systems and their future maintenance to enable the local planning authority to discharge its duties.

Should developers/applicants be planning to lodge a major application with the council they are advised to review Harrogate Borough Council supporting drainage information chart, and the Lead Local Flood Authority SuDS guidance notes.

Note: applicants proposing to submit minor development applications are advised to review Harrogate Borough Council supporting drainage information chart.

Page last updated 14/01/2019