Industry experts call for increased use of SuDS to create places for people to flourish

Wednesday 11th July 2018

Green Infrastructure must be placed at the heart of UK city redevelopment, to create places for people to flourish, experts have advised.


Leading specialists from organisations including the Greater London Authority and the Landscape Institute were speaking at the Polypipe InfraGreen conference, held at the Institution of Civil Engineers, to discuss how to make UK cities and built environments more resilient.


A range of challenges from available skills to urban redevelopment, the health and wellbeing of citizens to managing climate change in the UK, is driving change at national policy level. The government is encouraging the construction industry to look for new ways to build sustainable, resilient cities.


Some 16 specialists, including Peter Massini of the Greater London Authority, Dusty Gedge, president of the European Federation of Green Roof and Wall Associations, and Dan Cook, chief executive of The Landscape Institute, discussed how to establish more green spaces in urban areas.


Sue Illman, managing director of Illman Young, set out how delivering multifunctional SuDS through design can deliver inherent resilience to flooding that not only manages water, but creates new habitats and networks for healthier environments in which people can flourish.


This approach was demonstrated as Dr Phil Askew, director in landscaping and placemaking at Peabody, outlined the regeneration masterplan to turn the borough of Thamesmead into one of London’s most biodiverse and sustainable urban living environments. This large-scale redevelopment of one the biggest post-war residential schemes will serve more than 100,000 people living in 35,000 homes on the banks of the Thames.


Ideas put forward by speakers and delegates throughout the course of the day included calls for the National Infrastructure Commission to include landscaping and green infrastructure as an infrastructure class, and for changes to the National Planning Policy Framework to be made to ensure building product ‘multi-functionality’ is set a parameter for SuDS design.


Polypipe specification director Sean Robinson said: “Policy makers, urban planners and architects are fully aware of the need to change the way rainwater is managed in urban environments. For generations, the wisdom was to manage water away from buildings as efficiently as possible to minimise long-term damage.


“However, with mass urbanisation set to continue and cities contributing to a rise in localised temperatures, there needs to be a change in mindset so that we can harness the water as a resource to keep our cities cool, by keeping them green.


“The Polypipe InfraGreen Conference was a great forum to bring diverse thinkers together to begin the collaboration that will see Green Infrastructure, delivered through well-designed SuDS schemes, become a key part of many large-scale developments and infrastructure projects.”

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