ARCHIVE: Lower Irwell Valley pilot summary
Local authority: United Utilities
The Lower Irwell IUD Project considered integrated urban drainage from a strategic perspective, using the Lower Irwell area as a focus for the project. Of principal note, the project has highlighted the overly-complex nature of the water management regime within the UK. This complex set-up hinders the adoption of an integrated approach to urban water management, and is considered a fundamental aspect that requires substantial simplification if IUD is to be successfully implemented. Allowing for this, the Lower Irwell IUD Project has generated several tangible benefits for the project stakeholders. These beneficial outcomes and the identified barriers are summarised below:
- Greater awareness and understanding amongst stakeholders of their duties and the need for a consistent approach
- Recognition of the value of local drainage knowledge.
- Greater awareness that the DG5 register is less useful than initially believed.
- A real willingness for stakeholderswork together where possible.
Technical and procedural solutions
- The development of a ‘SWMP datamap’ & ‘SUDS advice map’.
- The development of a ‘sewer flood risk map’ to identify areas at risk of sewer.
- To make greater use of pre-planning meetings to develop IUD solutions.
- Recognise the important role of non-statutory consultee stakeholders in the planning process.
Specific barriers that must be removed to facilitate IUD include
- Excessive number of stakeholders involved within urban water management.
- Lack of data sharing between.
- Unclear urban water management policy from Central Government and its agencies.
- Lack of awareness of other stakeholders duties and responsibilities.
- Poor communication within and between stakeholders.
- Lack of awareness across stakeholder organisations of what data is available.
- Lack of resources (time, manpower, funding within stakeholder.
- A dearth of drainage engineers and local knowledge within local authorities.
- Lack of policy guidance and incentives with respect to SUDS use and adoption.
- A regulatory system that over-emphasises the continued use of traditional systems.
As an exercise, the IUD pilot project has been successful in identifying difficulties and constraints associated with IUD.
Most importantly, the project has led to greater joint working between stakeholders, and resulted in a greater understanding of each stakeholder’s responsibilities, duties and constraints. All stakeholders have recognised the value of working together to better understand development needs, implement IUD and explore alternative drainage approaches, including SUDS.
However, effective IUD requires clear policy guidance from Central Government, which will require major changes and simplifications in legislation. Future drainage planning also needs to accommodate climate change and the increased risk of urban flooding.
It is recommended that the Environment Agency takes prime responsibility for ensuring that Surface Water Management Plans (SWMP’s) are produced, providing a strategic overview in a local context (see section 4.1.13 of main report). Their role in this context would be similar to their role in the Water Resource Planning system. The SWMP’s require collaborative input from those locally-based organisations directly affected by and responsible for future flood situations, i.e. local authorities, the Environment Agency and the water utilities. Given appropriate resources, any one of these three organisations could take the lead role in producing SWMP’s.
Page last modified: 25 June 2008
Page published: 5 March 2007