Sustainable Drainage

Sometimes, the homes and buildings that we live and work in can actually make flooding worse. Making simple changes to your property can help to minimise flooding.

Sustainable Drainage Systems colourful leaflet.

Our homes and businesses often include large water-resistant surface areas such as roofs, driveways and roads, which cause rainwater to run off into highway drains overwhelming the drainage network.

Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) can help by mimicking natural landscape features to slow the flow of rainwater into drains, gutters and rivers. SuDS complement other measures such as engineered flood defences, natural flood management and property level protection.

The good news is that you can help slow the flow of water by implementing SuDS on your property. They can be introduced in virtually any outdoor space from small gardens to large developments.

Green roof created on top of a wooden bike shed.
Examples of SuDS

SuDS can be as simple as swapping a concrete driveway for a permeable one or as complex as an integrated landscaping scheme incorporating a range of different measures.

Some examples of SuDS include:

  • Green roofs - roofs that are covered with vegetation
  • Water butts - leave taps open to increase storage capacity
  • Raised planters - usually connected to a downpipe to collect rainwater
  • Permeable paving - e.g. gravel, pavers without mortar and grass reinforcement
Benefits of SuDS

As well as reducing the risk of flooding from development, sustainable drainage systems can also:

  • Benefit local ecosystems
  • Reduce pollution
  • Capture rainwater for reuse
  • Improve the look and feel of an outdoor space
  • Bring economic benefits to the local area
  • Improve the quality of life of people using the space
  • Improve mental and physical health of people using the space
  • Provide recreational and educational benefits
  • Improve water quality
  • Reduce costs on projects, when considered early in the design process
Lady watering plants with a watering can.
SuDS schemes in Calderdale

Many individuals, communities and organisations in Calderdale are already using SuDS.

Slow The Flow Calderdale has helped the Mytholmroyd flood wardens to build a green roof for its flood store, creating an attractive feature and doubling up its benefits to the local community.

Slow The Flow and Calder Rivers Trust have built five rain garden planters in the courtyard of Hebden Bridge Town Hall using funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery to demonstrate how SuDS work and encourage visitors to make their own interventions at home.

There are lots of further examples of local SuDS creations on Slow The Flow’s Case Studies page.

Interested in installing sustainable drainage systems or finding out more? Visit for guides to the general principles of SuDS and their use at home, at work, at school and in public spaces.

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