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SuDS Research

The European Commission’s Science for Environment Policy team have highlighted new research which proposes that Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) could be made better for biodiversity and local people with the help of two new evaluation methods.

Published in November, Science for Environment Policy published their short report, summarising the findings of an original research paper entitled, Sustainable drainage system site assessment method using urban ecosystem services.

There are various forms of SuDS which help prevent flooding and clean up contaminants; these include ponds, green roofs, artificial wetlands and absorbent pavements.

In the UK, where the study was conducted, the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) has recently updated its influential SuDS manual, which provides guidance on the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of SuDS. This latest version promotes the design of SuDS design that provide a range of ecosystem services.

The evaluation methods presented by the study are intended to support such an ecosystems-services approach. The first method considers which features provide biodiversity-related services, specifically habitat for wildlife and carbon sequestration. The second method considers which features contribute to recreational and educational ecosystem services.

The methods are described by the study’s authors as cost-effective, quick and reliable, and could help designers plan and retrofit SuDS that are wildlife-friendly and socially inclusive.

23 November 2016

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