Surface water planning

Surface water planning

All major planning applications need to demonstrate the use of sustainable drainage as part of their development. We are a statutory consultee on these planning applications.

Surface Water Management Plans (SWMP) have been produced by the Kettering, East Northamptonshire and Wellingborough areas. A SWMP outlines the predicted risk and preferred surface water management strategy for the area, developed with key local partners with responsibility for surface water and drainage. 

A copy of the Kettering and Wellingborough SWMP documents are available on request from [email protected].

Sustainable Drainage Systems

Sustainable drainage is a way of mimicking natural drainage in a built environment. Instead of surface water being piped underground, water remains at the surface, where it is cleaned and stored, reducing flood risk and improving the quality of the water before it either soaks into the ground or discharges to a watercourse. This allows for greater biodiversity and amenity to be created.

SusDrain has developed a simple animated video overview of what Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are, which can be viewed to the right. Case studies of example SuDS schemes can be found on the SusDrain website.

We encourage all new development and redevelopment that requires planning permission to use SuDS in order to reduce flood risk, improve water quality and present options for biodiversity and public amenity. This is consistent with existing national guidance and local planning policy.

SuDS advice for developers

The demands of each individual development can lead to a wide variety of solutions. Understanding our priorities in terms of SuDS will help ensure the solutions are appropriate to our requirements.

It is important that developers establish the geological and hydrological conditions of their site at an early stage through ground investigations, before coming to any conclusions about the suitability of any particular SuDS system.

SuDS incorporate cost-effective techniques that are applicable to a wide range of schemes, from small developments to major residential, leisure, commercial or industrial operations with large areas of hard standing and roof. They can also be successfully retrofitted into existing developments.

SusDrain, an online community for sustainable drainage, has a whole host of resources relating to the design and management of SuDS, alongside a range of case studies.

Local standards and guidance

We have published local guidance intended to assist developers in the design of all surface water drainage systems, and to support us when we consider drainage proposals for new developments in the area.

The guide sets out the standards that we apply in assessing all surface water drainage proposals. This guidance is a ‘live’ document which will be continually updated and improved, therefore please ensure you are using the most recent version.

Planning applications

Detailed guidance relating to the information we would like to see in any Flood Risk Assessment or Drainage Strategy is provided in our 'Local Standards and Guidance for Surface Water Drainage in Northamptonshire'.

We may have additional requirements for planning submissions so you should contact Planning and Building Control before applying.

Under revised planning guidance, SuDS must be included in any new development unless demonstrated inappropriate. If a traditional (below-ground piped) drainage system is proposed over a sustainable drainage system, the onus is on the applicant to provide evidence to demonstrate that SuDS would be inappropriate for the development.

If we are not satisfied with the evidence provided, we may object to the proposal.

Last updated 03 June 2024