Community SuDS Innovation Accelerator SuDS+

SuDS+ reimagines what Sustainable Drainage (SuDS) can do. Co-creating SuDS solutions with residents to reduce flooding and to help build better places for communities.


We are developing a new approach to designing, delivering, and monitoring of SuDS that is scalable, adaptive, led by the community and makes best use of available technologies. The outputs will be the foundations of a new way of delivering SuDS on the scale required across the UK, creating more resilient, greener community spaces which are shaped by their residents.

This is the SuDS+ approach.


Our first co-creation workshop focused on the ways in which residents would like to be involved in the project and the possible community benefits from installing SuDS.

Prioritisation was the focus of the second engagement with over 300 responses collated and residents responses decided everything should remain a priority. The poster below outlines the results.

In May we followed up the visioning exercise by asking where residents would like to see improvements. 383 locations were received and can be seen on the map below or an interactive map found here.


From this the SuDS+ team looked at the locations and other available community information to draw up a long list of ideas. A vote was held in Autumn 2023 to reduce the shortlist from 12 alternatives.

Despite delivering leaflets to over 9,000 homes the response was disappointing and it was difficult to see a clear result. As a consequence the implementation team have revisited all ideas with enhanced flood modeling. Our 12 locations are shown below.

Residents are still asked to contribute the places where they have seen flooding via our online GIS form.

More work with the community will take place over the coming months to continue shaping the project into a community led initiative. Visit our website for more details.

The SuDS+ project will implement a range of community-led SuDS interventions which will reduce the risk of flooding to host-communities, as well as delivering a broad range of co-benefits. Current approaches to SuDS are characterised by expert-led and off the shelf solutions which exclude community involvement and do not deliver long-term sustainability and resilience, or wider benefits. Our ambitious project will develop and test a new way of delivering SuDS across the UK, creating more resilient, greener urban spaces which are shaped by their residents.

Adopting a community and design-led process, our project will identify and trial innovative approaches and technologies for designing, implementing and validating SuDS. Our SuDS+ approach will challenge traditional methods of measuring success and resilience by developing community capacity and social capital. This will have applications and benefits for global urban flood management.


Our project has three broad areas of activity: problem definition and statements; challenge-led approach to drive innovation and reduce path dependency; and a community adoption framework and operating model. It is our ambition that these benefits will be sustained and further developed through the co-creation of a novel community adoption framework and partnership model.

The SuDS+ projects medium term outcomes are:

  • Increased awareness of flooding and ways to reduce flood impacts by engaging and empowering all of our community
  • An exemplar way of working that can be scaled and which demonstrates a new framework and principles for reducing flooding
  • A series of solutions to reduce flooding and a network of community and professionals to maintain and enhance these into the future
  • A way to value the many benefits of flood interventions
  • A guide for how to resource locally led flood reduction measures in communities in the UK
  • An understanding of innovation challenges and research for the future




Our project will:

  • Create a methodology for measuring varied community benefit from SuDS solutions.
  • Co-create solutions with the communities.
  • Instigated technological challenges to find innovative ways to reduce flooding.
  • Develop a framework and handbook for SuDS+.
  • Engage local residents in the project and increase knowledge of SuDS and flooding.


How you can get involved:

If you'd like to find out more about our project please email us at contactus@stanleysuds.co.uk.


How our project is testing innovation:

As part of the FCRIP we are testing 3 resilience actions and 1 policy challenge.

  • Integrated water management solutions
  • Community and voluntary sector action to be better prepared and recover more quickly
  • Monitoring and management of local assets
  • Retrofitting drainage and water management arrangements in urban areas

Visit the programme evaluation page to find out more.


Who we are working with




Core project partners: Durham County Council (project lead), Arup, Environment Agency, Northumbria University, Isle Utilities, Northumbrian Water Limited, Teesside University, Viridian Logic, Wear Rivers Trust





SuDS+ reimagines what Sustainable Drainage (SuDS) can do. Co-creating SuDS solutions with residents to reduce flooding and to help build better places for communities.


We are developing a new approach to designing, delivering, and monitoring of SuDS that is scalable, adaptive, led by the community and makes best use of available technologies. The outputs will be the foundations of a new way of delivering SuDS on the scale required across the UK, creating more resilient, greener community spaces which are shaped by their residents.

This is the SuDS+ approach.


Our first co-creation workshop focused on the ways in which residents would like to be involved in the project and the possible community benefits from installing SuDS.

Prioritisation was the focus of the second engagement with over 300 responses collated and residents responses decided everything should remain a priority. The poster below outlines the results.

In May we followed up the visioning exercise by asking where residents would like to see improvements. 383 locations were received and can be seen on the map below or an interactive map found here.


From this the SuDS+ team looked at the locations and other available community information to draw up a long list of ideas. A vote was held in Autumn 2023 to reduce the shortlist from 12 alternatives.

Despite delivering leaflets to over 9,000 homes the response was disappointing and it was difficult to see a clear result. As a consequence the implementation team have revisited all ideas with enhanced flood modeling. Our 12 locations are shown below.

Residents are still asked to contribute the places where they have seen flooding via our online GIS form.

More work with the community will take place over the coming months to continue shaping the project into a community led initiative. Visit our website for more details.

The SuDS+ project will implement a range of community-led SuDS interventions which will reduce the risk of flooding to host-communities, as well as delivering a broad range of co-benefits. Current approaches to SuDS are characterised by expert-led and off the shelf solutions which exclude community involvement and do not deliver long-term sustainability and resilience, or wider benefits. Our ambitious project will develop and test a new way of delivering SuDS across the UK, creating more resilient, greener urban spaces which are shaped by their residents.

Adopting a community and design-led process, our project will identify and trial innovative approaches and technologies for designing, implementing and validating SuDS. Our SuDS+ approach will challenge traditional methods of measuring success and resilience by developing community capacity and social capital. This will have applications and benefits for global urban flood management.


Our project has three broad areas of activity: problem definition and statements; challenge-led approach to drive innovation and reduce path dependency; and a community adoption framework and operating model. It is our ambition that these benefits will be sustained and further developed through the co-creation of a novel community adoption framework and partnership model.

The SuDS+ projects medium term outcomes are:

  • Increased awareness of flooding and ways to reduce flood impacts by engaging and empowering all of our community
  • An exemplar way of working that can be scaled and which demonstrates a new framework and principles for reducing flooding
  • A series of solutions to reduce flooding and a network of community and professionals to maintain and enhance these into the future
  • A way to value the many benefits of flood interventions
  • A guide for how to resource locally led flood reduction measures in communities in the UK
  • An understanding of innovation challenges and research for the future




Our project will:

  • Create a methodology for measuring varied community benefit from SuDS solutions.
  • Co-create solutions with the communities.
  • Instigated technological challenges to find innovative ways to reduce flooding.
  • Develop a framework and handbook for SuDS+.
  • Engage local residents in the project and increase knowledge of SuDS and flooding.


How you can get involved:

If you'd like to find out more about our project please email us at contactus@stanleysuds.co.uk.


How our project is testing innovation:

As part of the FCRIP we are testing 3 resilience actions and 1 policy challenge.

  • Integrated water management solutions
  • Community and voluntary sector action to be better prepared and recover more quickly
  • Monitoring and management of local assets
  • Retrofitting drainage and water management arrangements in urban areas

Visit the programme evaluation page to find out more.


Who we are working with




Core project partners: Durham County Council (project lead), Arup, Environment Agency, Northumbria University, Isle Utilities, Northumbrian Water Limited, Teesside University, Viridian Logic, Wear Rivers Trust





What else would you like to know about our project?

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Page last updated: 31 Jan 2024, 04:36 PM