Planning and development

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) mimic natural drainage to manage surface water run-off from a development. SuDS allow for the collection, storage and treatment of surface water in order to reduce flood risk caused by development. SuDS generally replace traditional underground, piped drainage systems. The aim of SuDS is to keep water on the surface as much as possible. They can be integrated into both rural and urban developments. The benefits of SuDS include:

  • provide the potential to re-connect societies with water, providing benefits for amenity, health and well-being
  • SuDS can provide new natural habitats, connecting nature and wildlife with urban environments
  • keeping water on the surface allows any problems to be identified and managed quickly. Management of SuDS features can generally be cheaper, less time consuming and more straight-forwards than conventional drainage systems

Guidance for developers

Milton Keynes Council has published specific guidance on the preparation of surface water drainage strategies (see below). This provides information on the level of detail we require depending on the type of planning application. The document should be used by all developers and their consultants who wish to submit an application in Milton Keynes.

Plan:MK (the Local Plan for Milton Keynes)

Plan:MK (the Local Plan for Milton Keynes) was adopted on 20th March 2019. As outlined in the plan, the early masterplan for Milton Keynes sought to reduce flood risk via the development of an innovative approach to flood risk based on a strategic water management system and planned green infrastructure provision.

Policies FR1 – FR3 of Plan:MK includes locally specific strategic flood risk management policies to maintain and continue the exemplar sustainable drainage model of Milton Keynes which prohibits development within the floodplain and seeks flood management and drainage infrastructure to be provided as strategically as possible and as part of a maintained, multi-functional blue-green infrastructure.

Pre-application advice

Reviews of surface water strategies or flood risk assessments should be requested via our formal pre-application advice service, where a planning officer will provide their opinion and guidance on the likely outcome of your application.

Land drainage consent

When considering if the proposed works to an ordinary watercourse will require consent, you should consider whether it would affect the flow of the watercourse when the channel is full. If the answer to this is yes, then a Land Drainage Consent will be required. Consent will be required irrespective of whether works are temporary or permanent. Any form of development within 9 metres of an ordinary watercourse will also require prior approval. This includes landscaping works (fencing and tree planting) as well as any structures (e.g. development, utilities infrastructure, drainage features, outfalls etc.).

For ordinary watercourses in the Borough of Milton Keynes, outside an Internal Drainage Board area, the relevant authority is Milton Keynes Council.

To undertake works on or near to all watercourses in the Borough of Milton Keynes that are not main rivers you need to complete a Consent form for the Bedford Group of Drainage Boards (please select the form relevant to Milton Keynes Council) as they are responsible for issuing consents on behalf of Milton Keynes Council.