Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) management
The first ever Sustainable Drainage (SuDS) Conference in the Highlands was held on the 27th November 2015 at the Highland Council chambers. Over 60 people attended the event form The Highland Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Moray Council and Aberdeenshire Council, in addition to individuals involved in the local community and development.
The aim was to improve communication about the use of sustainable drainage and ensure these systems are reaching their full potential to provide multiple benefits for people and wildlife. Speakers included Dr Brian D’Arcy “the grandfather of SuDS” an independent consultant who has been instrumental in the implementation of these systems in the UK and Alison Duffy from Abertay University who works on projects to assess the whole life cost of these systems. They discussed the potential for SuDS to provide amenity space for local people, provide health benefits to local residents, encourage more wildlife within our cities and increase the quality of our water. All at a lower cost than conventional drainage systems.
The day was rounded off with presentations about the work being carried out in Inverness and Tayside to support biodiversity and in particular amphibian populations. Catherine Lloyd from Tayside Biodiversity Partnership demonstrated the impacts of gully pots on amphibians when migrating to urban ponds.
Graduate research assistant Marcia Rae presented the results of the 2015 Inverness SuDS project which identified 40 sites within the city, 75% of which were being utilised by amphibians. Amphibians are utilising these sites alongside a range of other wildlife. Water quality testing demonstrated that the ponds are of good quality and in some cases very healthy. Nearly half of the ponds surveyed in Inverness are in excellent condition and the remainder could be brought up to this level with minimal intervention.
Presentations from the conference.