Following the decision by government to commence Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 on mandatory sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) in new development, CIWEM are working with partners to identify the skills and training needs to ensure the welcome move is successful.
This success will rely on sufficient skills within the public and private sectors in order to submit, assess and determine applications for SuDS, alongside expertise in their construction and maintenance. Research is needed to assess the current skill set within England and what more may be needed.
The project aims to evidence the current depth and extent of SuDS knowledge across construction and approving bodies in England; understand the skills and knowledge needed to successfully implement Schedule 3 as written, and identify gaps in this currently, and finally to report on the training, upskilling, human and financial resources needed to bridge any gaps.
The work is being led by WSP, supported by CIWEM and CIRIA; bringing an in-depth understanding of the SuDS planning, design, delivery, approval, adoption and maintenance process alongside a proficiency in ensuring professionals have access to appropriate skills, training and, where it would be beneficial, certification.
The project is looking across the sector, through focus groups, workshopping and a survey of practitioners to understand where the training and upskilling needs are greatest, how needs can be met and the role of training accreditation and professional certification might play in supporting levels of practice and assurance.
It is important to stress that when considering the role of local authorities in SuDS delivery under Schedule 3, the team will be looking at skills across whole authorities and not just those working in a lead local flood authority capacity.
CIWEM’s project lead Paul Shaffer said: “Delivery of SuDS through a mandatory approach with standards is potentially moving away from a functional focus on drainage, to more of an integrated water management approach to enable developments to comply with standards. “Awareness, together with inspection and enforcement will be key. There could be some relatively easy transitions for those already involved in asset inspection and maintenance, for example highways authorities. So we want to hear from everyone within those authorities.”
The survey is open for responses for another week – closing on 20th March. This is a crucial opportunity for practitioners to register their views on areas of need while Defra lays the foundations for the implementation process of Schedule 3. Access the survey here.
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