Sustainable Drainage Resource Hub

Welcome to the SuDS Hub!

The Hub is for anyone interested in sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) within the South West and beyond. Here you can access key information and our new SuDS tools (Strategic Screening Tool and Opportunity Mapping Tool) and more information and case study applications..

The Hub has been designed as part of the SWEEP NERC-funded ‘Sustainable Drainage Systems project’. This project looked at the possibilities of large-scale implementation SuDS across the South West, working closely with consulting engineers Pell Frischmann and Westcountry Rivers Trust. You can find out more about the work, and what it delivered in our Impact Summary.

We’d love to hear from you!

Please contact Dr James Webber ( if you are interested in:

  • Finding out more about the new Tools and our project
  • Suggesting additional resources for this Hub

Project lead and contact

Dr James Webber
SWEEP Impact Fellow
Prof. Guangtao Fu
SWEEP Engineering Lead

 SuDS in the South West

SuDS are new ‘green’ sustainable drainage systems which provide a natural approach to combat increased surface water flooding risks, driven by climate change, urbanisation and deteriorating ‘traditional’ infrastructure (e.g. old sewers, tanks and overspills).

Sudden flash flooding can be devastating, risking lives, homes and vital infrastructure. The environment, public health and tourism can also be affected through uncontrolled sewer discharges into rivers, lakes and bathing waters.

SuDS systems mimic natural drainage through the use of green roofs, permeable surfaces, ditches, swales (shallow drainage channels), ponds and wetlands. They help to manage surface water before it reaches sewers and can improve water quality and biodiversity. South West England has been particularly badly hit by surface water flooding, with major flash flood events at Boscastle, Coverack and Clovelly in recent years.

SuDS have proved successful at site-scale, but widespread implementation across whole water catchments remains fragmented and opportunistic.

 New SuDS Tools

Our SuDS team developed the following new tools to help speed up the implementation of SuDS across the South West:

  • SuDS Strategic Screening Tool  – this tool maps surface water (overland exceedance) flow paths and catchments for South West England, promoting an early-stage, ‘whole catchment’ approach to surface water management, in contrast to conventional ad-hoc, site-specific approaches.

This paper describes how the SuDS Strategic Screening Tool works in the South West, with a Case Study application at Dartington Estate, Devon, produced collaboratively with

  • SuDS Opportunity Mapping Tool – this tool indicates high-level opportunities for SuDS application in Devon by incorporating a range of environmental (land uses, slopes, water environment, hazards), human (socio-demographics, buildings) and engineering (SuDS suitability) factors.

This paper describes how the SuDS Opportunity Mapping Tool helps spatial planners in Devon – to understand; (a) where SuDS are needed, and (b) where they can be placed.

 Application of SuDS Tools

These papers provide further information and Case Study applications:


Is green infrastructure a viable strategy for managing urban surface water flooding?

Green infrastructure strategies are often cited as best practice for urban water management; however, limited research has been undertaken to…

Achieving regional scale surface water management using synthetic stream networks

Research has revealed for the first time that around 271 million recreational visits are made to marine and coastal environments…

Comparing cost‐effectiveness of surface water flood management interventions in a UK catchment

Surface water flooding is a significant hazard, which regularly impacts communities in the United Kingdom. Current estimates place 4 million…