Sustainable drainage systems

Sustainable drainage systems and planning applications

The role of the local planning authority

The local planning authority will determine the application and will need to be satisfied that:

  • any proposals meet national and local policies
  • any proposals clearly identify who will be responsible for maintaining the sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) and funding for maintenance should be fair for householders and premises occupiers
  • minimum standards are set out to which the SuDS must be maintained

The local planning authority has a local list for the validation of planning applications.


Bracknell Forest Council, being the Local Planning Authority (LPA) and LLFA, encourages the use of pre-application discussions to make sure that any planning application can be determined as smoothly as possible.

Get pre-application planning advice for developers

Information to include in planning applications

Information about what should be included in a drainage strategy for major and minor planning applications is in the planning application - drainage strategy information document.

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To make sure that the council, as the Local Planning Authority (LPA), can determine an application in a timely manner, and for the Lead Local Authority (LLFA) to be able to fulfil its role as a statutory consultee, sufficient drainage information must be submitted in support of an application.

Validation of application

In order to make sure the Lead Local Authority (LLFA) can make a timely response to the Local Planning Authority (LPA) and for the LPA to be able to determine the application, a local list will be used to validate any application.

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This list requires a submission of a drainage strategy for all major applications and other information for some minor applications.

The detailed requirements for the drainage strategy will vary depending upon the type of application.

Flood risk sequential test and exception test

The revised version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) published in July 2021 included changes which have an impact on the application of the sequential test, as it applies to flood risk.

Before the change, Flood Zones, which define fluvial and coastal flood risk, provided the basis for applying the test.

The change effected by the 2021 version of the NPPF requires:

  • the use of the sequential test to steer new development to areas with the lowest risk of flooding from any source
  • the strategic flood risk assessment (SFRA) provides the basis of applying the test

It is now necessary to apply the sequential test to a wider range of planning applications. This includes development within Flood Zone 1, where the site is at risk of flooding from any source. This source includes surface or ground water flooding.

The council has prepared the attached advice note. This explains how the sequential test and exception test apply within Bracknell Forest.