Advantages of Surface Drainage in the UK

What are the advantages of surface drainage UK

Despite common law dictating property owners to keep drains free of blockages and allow water to flow naturally to neighbours’ land, property owners have a variety of options for surface water drainage. These options include pipe drains, humps, and land smoothing. Homeowners can choose the type of surface water drainage best suited to their needs and budget.

Land smoothing

Surface drainage is a technique for getting rid of excess water from land. It can be accomplished by digging ditches, making natural channels or shaping the land’s surface. It can also help with land smoothing. Generally, land smoothing is performed to prevent erosion. But if you have uneven land, it can have other effects.

Surface drainage is more effective when the land is smooth. It reduces minor changes in soil erosion and minimizes dits and shallow depressions. Consequently, fewer dits mean better drainage. This is one of the main benefits of surface drainage in the UK. In addition, land smoothing is also less expensive.

Land grading

Surface drainage is an important method for managing water. The benefits include minimizing the amount of ponded water. It prevents the soil from becoming saturated, which limits gas exchange and prevents many cultural operations. It is especially effective on flat lands and soil layers with low permeability.

Pipe drains

One advantage of pipe drains is the relatively low cost of these systems. These pipes are often made from HDPE, which is a relatively cheap raw material. This means that they can be used on a large scale for surface drainage. However, these drains are not perfect.

Pipe drains can be installed in various soil types and conditions. For example, they can be installed in areas with sandy pockets or heavy soil. Moreover, they can be installed at distances of up to 100 metres, depending on the soil type. The pipes can be backfilled with small diameter gravel.

Another benefit of pipe drains is that they can be used to prevent soil erosion and flood damage. They also don’t require a lot of maintenance. However, pipe drains can clog up over time. This happens due to ochre build-up in the drainpipe.


Surface drainage is an environmentally friendly way to deal with surface water. It can lower sewerage costs and reduce flooding risks. Public sewers are designed to handle surface water, but are often overloaded during heavy rains. Fortunately, the UK has enacted laws to make it easier for developers to install sustainable drainage systems.

Surface drainage reduces the amount of time that water remains ponded on the land. This prevents the soil from absorbing the water and restricting the natural processes of gas exchange and cultural operations. It’s particularly effective on flat lands and in areas with limiting soil layers.


Surface drainage, also known as soakaways, collects runoff from a development via a catchpit that removes pollutants. It is typically located in an open space and can be less intrusive to building foundations. The location of soakaways depends on geological conditions and planning requirements. Local authorities provide guidance on the siting of soakaways.

This system is often preferred by property owners because it offers a more natural approach to the management of surface water. It also has the benefit of reducing sewerage bills and flooding risks. Public sewers are largely responsible for processing surface water and can become overloaded during heavy rainfall, which can cause flooding. In addition to this, the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 has limited developers’ rights to connect to public sewers. As a result, sustainable drainage systems have become more widespread.

Sustainable drainage systems aim to mimic natural drainage processes, reducing both the quantity and quality of runoff from developments. They also have biodiversity and amenity benefits. SuDS should be considered early on to ensure the best outcomes. Moreover, they free up capacity in existing drainage networks. In addition, some planning authorities have made provision of SuDS a prerequisite for planning permission.

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