New pond and path at Ruchill Park, Glasgow. ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)

Designing good sustainable urban drainage systems can reduce flooding and help biodiversity in urban areas.

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) refer to drainage systems that manage surface water that take into account water quantity and quality (flooding and pollution) as well as biodiversity and amenity.

SuDS use natural elements to typically manage rainfall close to where it falls. They are designed to;

  • Transport (convey) surface water
  • Slowdown runoff (attenuate) before it enters watercourses
  • Provide areas to store water in natural contours, allowing water to soak (infiltrate) into the ground
  • Allow water to be transpired through vegetation (evapotranspiration)

More information and guidance:

Susdrain provide a range of resources for those involved in delivering SuDs and water-sensitive urban design.

Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Partnership have useful information on what everyone can do to help reduce flooding, from individual homeowners, to Local Authorities and Developers.

SEPA guidance on the general requirement for new surface water drainage systems to pass through SuDS.