Rural Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are not a new concept, but they are not widespread in the rural environment and could present many opportunities for improving our management of water at source. They are a collection of physical structures used to mimic natural processes. In rural environments, it is an approach for managing the detrimental impact of rainfall on fields where run-off is a major threat to the flora, fauna and chemical status of our surface waters.
Environment Agency have produced a report that provides a list of existing land management options that fit the definition of sustainable drainage and reviews their cost and effectiveness in helping to meet the objectives of the Water Framework Directive, to reduce flood risk and adapt to climate change. Options explored in the report include trenches, wetlands, retention ponds and buffers and many of these features can be further enhanced by sediment traps as part of the design.
Natural England have also produced a number of related technical information notes
It is possible to do these capital works as a special project under the CSF Capital Grant Scheme if there was a particular site issue where these would be appropriate measures to use, as well as via HLS.
Natural England have made a video with LEAF on Sustainable Drainage systems on farms.