Flooding – understand the cause before proposing the solution

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are often proposed as ‘the solution’ to flooding in the UK, and find particular favour with environmentalists, which I suppose is because they often have plants growing in them. However, before proposing a solution, we need to understand the problem. I wrote an article for Green Building Magazine in 2014 in order to explain the various causes of flooding, and what prevention and mitigation measures can be considered. At the time, the Somerset Levels were underwater, and there was an enormous amount of nonsense in the press about causes and solutions.

Whilst SuDS can be useful to prevent the flooding caused by certain types of rainfall events, it is worrying how many proponents of SuDS don’t understand the underpinning theory of flood types, or the maths required to properly size a proposed solution. SuDS are but one of many options.

A copy of the article is available here.


Flooding across the Dyfi Valley flood plain (needless to say, a SuDS scheme wouldn’t have prevented this).


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