SUDS in Scotland – the Scottish SUDS database

July 2002


  1. This report, entitled ‘SUDS in Scotland – the Scottish SUDS database’ (SNIFFER Final Report number SR(02)09 was produced in July 2002 by SNIFFER, SEPA and the University of Abertay Dundee.
  2. Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) are storm or surface water drainage facilities that are designed to address three essential issues: water quality, water quantity, and amenity (including biodiversity).
  3. Types of SUDS include: detention basins; filter drains; filter strips; flow control systems; infiltration trenches and basins; permeable paving; retention ponds; soakaways; swales and wetlands.
  4. This report provides summary data, statistics and interpretation of the findings of a survey of SUDS in Scotland, and the contents of the Scottish SUDS Database.
  5. Numbers of systems and SUDS sites are reported. At the end of 2001 there were in total 3913 SUDS and 767 sites around Scotland.
  6. The growth in numbers of SUDS in Scotland has been rapid since 1996, and is increasing.
  7. An important SUDS concept is the storm (or surface) water management train, which suggests that: surface water should be prevented from coming into contact with contaminants (good housekeeping measures); water should be treated or disposed of at or close to its source (source control); and that site controls and regional controls should be used as necessary.
  8. It is apparent that uptake of the stormwater management train approach to urban drainage has not yet become widespread.
  9. This survey of the use of SUDS in Scotland found that the amenity aspect of SUDS has to some extent been neglected, due to the extensive use of infiltration-based or belowground systems.
  10. It might be possible to achieve greater sustainability in urban drainage by making changes to national SUDS policies and guidance, and by reviewing the legal framework and responsibilities for assessing, adopting and maintaining SUDS.
  11. Recommendations for further research are made, and issues of future importance are discussed.


SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems); BMP (Best Management Practice); Urban; Surface Water; Storm Water; Source Control; Sustainable Development; Diffuse Pollution; Scotland; Database.

Copies of this report are available from the Foundation, price 15.00, less 20% to FWR members.

N.B. The report is available for download from the SNIFFER Website