Sustainable drainage systems

Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) can reduce the impact of development on the environment by mimicking the natural process of surface water management.

East Sussex County Council encourages all developments to use SuDS to manage flood risk and improve water quality, the local environment and wildlife habitats.

The County Council, in partnership with other South East Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFAs) has produced a guide that sets out the framework for integrating SuDS in development layouts.

Read the guide below:

Guide to Sustainable Drainage in East Sussex

Water.People.Places. A guide for masterplanning sustainable drainage into developments

More information on SuDS is available on the Susdrain website.

SuDS and the planning policy

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government delivered a written Ministerial Statement on the implementation of SuDS in Parliament on 18 December 2014. The statement made changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which in turn made SuDS a material consideration while determining planning applications for major development. These changes came into effect on 6 April 2015.

Alongside the changes to NPPF the Development Management Procedure Order was amended, making East Sussex County Council as LLFA a statutory consultee to the planning process on the management of surface water, starting from 15 April 2015.

Consequently, developers need to provide SuDS on major development where appropriate, while paying due regard to the following:

Pre-application advice

Implications of the Lockdown for the Flood Risk Management Team

The latest Lockdown will see a continuation of home working for the team. Unaccompanied site visits will continue to take place where they are safe for the individual to do so and comply with Government guidance, but any meetings with other parties will be held virtually. Some of the team will have home-schooling and/or care responsibilities, and as consequence there will be periods when staff are not available during conventional working hours. In addition, such staff are unlikely to have their normal capacity to undertake their duties. With this in mind, responses to consultations on planning applications will take priority ahead of dealing with pre-application enquiries over the coming 2–3 months. Whilst we will continue to accept requests for pre-application advice, there may be occasions where we will not be able to be provide a response within our usual timeframes.


ESCC as the LLFA is working in partnership with the Pevensey and Cuckmere Water Level Management Board (PCWLMB), to advise planning authorities on the impact of development on local flood risk within the Board’s catchment. Developers need to liaise with both organisations for sites within the Board’s catchment. The Board’s Flood and Water Officer is contactable through the ESCC Flood Risk Management Team.

ESCC encourages developers to hold pre-application discussions to reduce delays in the determination of a planning application. However, this advice is chargeable and our tariff along with an application form for pre-application advice can be accessed below.

We also provide a checking service for data which may be required as part of a Flood Risk Assessment or the development of a drainage strategy. This service is also chargeable and details are set out in the tariff.

ESCC has developed guidance documents and tools which developers are advised to refer to during the development of surface water management strategies for their sites. These are:

Surface water drainage checklist

The surface water drainage checklists list all the information ESCC expects to be included in a surface water drainage strategy supporting a planning application.

More pre-application information will be published soon.

LLFA policy on deep bored soakaways

Our policy on deep bored soakaways

Contact us

For more information or a pre-application discussion email the Flood Risk Management team or call 01273 481421.