A Bluffer's Guide to Schedule 3

We don’t have all the answers at R-LA, but we hope we might shed some light on Schedule 3 and what it means for developers and designers


What is Schedule 3?
Schedule 3 is a framework for the adoption of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) for new developments that was written into the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. However, it was never implemented in England.

Where did SuDS go?
SuDS were redirected in 2015 to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) where they have been encouraged but not enforced. Concerns arose that the design and construction standards of SuDS were often lacking and that these systems were then abandoned as soon as the developer left the site making them almost completely ineffective within a short space of time.

What would Schedule 3 mean?
In January 2023, the government announced its ‘commitment’ to implementing Schedule 3 in the UK. 

Currently Schedule 3 would mean that:

  • SuDS would become the default option for surface water drainage on new developments (more than 10 houses).
  • The automatic legal right to connect surface water drainage to nearby sewage infrastructure would be removed.
  • The design, construction, operation and maintenance of these systems would be approved by a SuDS Approving Body (SAB) before any construction on site. SAB will most likely be set up within local authorities.
  • The operation and maintenance cost of SuDS adopted by the SAB