Surrey schools receive grants to reduce the surface water risk on their sites

Sustainable Drainage Systems are being put in place in four Surrey schools

Grants of up to £50,000 per school, for four schools in Surrey have been secured via the River Thames Scheme (RTS). These Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) grants support schools to reduce the surface water risk within their sites, provide educational benefits on sustainability and climate change, and increase biodiversity on the school site via blue or green infrastructure.

A recent exciting opportunity arose as part of the RTS. The Surrey County Council (SCC) Flood and Climate Resilience (FCR) Team were asked to contact four Surrey schools identified in collaboration with the Department of Education (DofE). The schools were deemed to be in areas of high risk of surface water flooding as well as within areas around historic River Thames flooding. The offer was funding of up to £50,000 per school to install educationally appropriate Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS). The FCR Team introduced SuDS Planter, to the first of the four schools involved in the project; Laleham Church of England (CofE) School to explore partnership delivery with the school.

Laleham CofE School case study

Laleham CofE School were extremely enthusiastic in taking up the opportunity. During the summer term 2023, the school business manager Natalie Watson and the SuDS Planter team explored opportunities to maximise the benefit of this investment and improve water attenuation – temporarily storing storm water - linked to educating their pupils before committing to an installation programme over this year's summer holidays.

In addition to water attenuating planters there was an opportunity to revive and safely re-establish a nature pond that was no longer used. This pond now holds water taken from a school garage using water butts to keep the pond level constant throughout the year and is used as part of nature and diversity education to the pupils.

The attenuation planters are a mixture of educational benefits of storing and managing water as well as growing plants that can improve the school environment.

Environmental planters were also constructed in the reception class area that encourages the children to understand the physics of how water flows, as well as store rainwater from the roof of the school building that prior to this discharged into the surface water drainage system.

What's next?

Next steps will be to deliver some engagement sessions to the school, the RTS will work with SuDS Planter and the Environment Agency (EA) to promote water sustainability and the wider benefits of the River Thames Scheme. A Huge thank you to the school for taking up the opportunity of SuDS ownership and education. Work continues with the remaining schools.

Find out more about the River Thames Scheme on their website.

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