Planning Advice - Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)

  1. Our responsibilities
    1. What's a Major Development?
    2. Why do you review drainage in Major Developments?
    3. Do you review Minor Developments?
    4. Do I need to send my planning application to you?
  2. How to meet the National Standards for sustainable drainage
  3. Pre-application Planning Advice Service
    1. Who can ask for pre-application advice?
    2. How much does it cost?
    3. Service Level 1 - Flood Risk Report
    4. Service Level 2 - Pre-application Advice
    5. Service Level 3 - Bespoke Advice
    6. How do I pay?

Our responsibilities

Surrey County Council is designated as a Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) by the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, which means we are a statutory consultee on surface water drainage for all new major developments, as set out by the Town and Country Planning Order (2015) (PDF).

If someone submits a planning application for a Major Development, the planning authority send us the plans and details of the surface water drainage for that development so that we can comment on it.

What's a major development?

A major development is currently classified by the Town and Country Planning Order (2015) (PDF) as being the of one of the following.

  • A site involving mining or processing mineral materials
  • Waste or sewage collection or processing facilities
  • Housing developments with more than 10 intended dwellings
  • Housing developments larger than 0.5 hectares, if the number of intended dwellings is not known
  • Any site where the total floor space created by the development is 1000 square metres or more
  • Any site with a total area of 1 hectare or more, regardless of the number or type of buildings

Why do you review drainage in major developments?

The planning process is an important part of our work to manage flood risk in Surrey, and is one of our eight objectives in the Surrey Flood Risk Management Strategy. We assess each application against the Defra National Standards for Sustainable Drainage (PDF) and work with applicants to meet the standards, imposing conditions on planning applications where needed.

Do you review minor developments?

No, we do not normally assess minor developments (any site that does not meet the criteria for Major Development above). Drainage in minor developments is overseen by the local district or borough planning authority themselves.

Do I need to send my planning application to you?

No, your documents will be available for us to review on the local planning authority's website once you have made your application. You do not need to send your documents to us separately.

How to meet the national standards for sustainable drainage

We have created a comprehensive guidance document (PDF) that outlines our advice on how to meet the National Standards, what evidence you need to provide, and what our standard conditions may be. This guidance was written in partnership with all eleven local planning authorities in Surrey.

You can also use our SuDS pro-forma template (DOC) as part of your planning application submission. It helps break down exactly what information will be needed in each field, so you can make a good quality submission.

We highly recommend that developers review the guidance before submitting a planning application.

Pre-application advice service

We can help you submit the best possible surface water drainage strategy with our pre-planning application advice service. Having your plans reviewed before submitting a full planning application makes it easier to make changes and improvements, helping you have a smoother journey through the planning consultation process.

Who can ask for pre-application advice?

Anybody who wants to submit a planning application. We can review and advise on sites of any size or category. Large or small, major or minor.

How much does it cost?

The cost of each level of advice is scaled to the size of the development. To find out how much our advice will cost, decide which level of advice is right for you and your needs, and check which category your site falls under. The cost of the service for each category is detailed in the service description below. Our pricing categories are as follows:

  • Minor
    • fewer than 10 dwellings on a site less than 1 hectare in size.
  • Major
    • 10 or more dwellings; or
    • a site over 0.5 hectares where number of dwellings not known; or
    • a building with a floor area greater than 1000 square metres; or
    • a site over 1 hectare in size.
  • Large Major
    • 200 or more dwellings; or
    • a site over 4 hectares in size.

Level 1 – Flood risk report

What we provide

A Detailed Flood Risk Report (FRR) of the known flood risks and historic information we hold, and a review of the suitability of the site for SuDS techniques. We include information from the following sources:

  • Fluvial Flood Risk - Flood Zones (Environment Agency)
  • Flood Warning and Alert areas (Environment Agency)
  • Flood Maps for Surface Water (Environment Agency)
  • Susceptibility to Groundwater Flooding (British Geological Survey)
  • Historic Flood Map (Environment Agency)
  • Wetspots (Surrey County Council)
  • Historic Flooding Incidents Database (Surrey County Council)
  • Detailed desktop assessment of geological data and suitability of site for SuDS (British Geological Survey)
  • Officer analysis and comment of likely suitable SuDS approaches

How much does it cost?

Our fees as of 1 April 2024 are:

  • Minor developments = £150 + £30 VAT = £180
  • Major developments = £200 + £40 VAT = £240
  • Large-Major developments = £250 + £50 VAT = £300

Level 2 – Pre-application advice service

What we provide

Detailed discussions with the SuDS and Consenting Team to progress a development proposal. Full advice and review service from pre-application through approval and discharge of conditions. Includes detailed Flood Risk Report summarising known site information

How much does it cost?

Our fees as of 1 April 2024 are:

  • Minor developments
    • Site visit meeting = £836 + £167.20 VAT = £1,003.20
    • Officer meeting = £674 + £134.80 VAT = £808.80
    • Written advice = £552 + £110.40 VAT = £662.40
  • Major developments
    • Site visit meeting = £1,398 + £279.60 VAT = £1,677.60
    • Officer meeting = £1,236 + £247.20 VAT = £1,483.20
    • Written advice = £992 + £198.40 VAT = £1,190.40
  • Large Major developments
    • Site visit meeting = £1,992 + £398.40 VAT = £2,390.40
    • Officer meeting = £1,830 + £366 VAT = £2,196.00
    • Written advice = £1,586 + £317.20 VAT = £1,903.20

Level 3 – Further meeting or bespoke advice

What we provide

If you don't wish to get the full suite of advice or have already submitted an application and just need at-cost advice on a specific element over, we are happy to provide this. Please contact us to discuss your requirements at

We are also happy to provide training sessions on the SuDS requirements and processes for your staff.

How much does it cost?

Officer attendance at meetings or further written advice is invoiced at an hourly rate of £144 + £28.80 VAT = £172.80 per hour.

Any other services or provision will be charged at a fee as agreed with the applicant, based on the staff time required.

How do I pay?

Once you have decided what level of advice you need, please contact us at with your enquiry. We will then confirm your details, the cost of the service, and the payment arrangements.

We accept payments by cheque or BACS transfer. We will provide you with a reference number and our bank details after you have contacted us.

Cheques should be made payable to Surrey County Council and sent to:

Strategic Network Resilience Team, Highways Laboratory and Information Centre, Merrow Lane, Merrow, Guildford, GU4 7BQ.

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