The sun is shining on a frosty morning as I post this blog - but it'll be raining by the end of the day. More rain, on already saturated ground, which won't drain away well in many places. So it's no wonder that managing surface water in new developments is topical and hardly surprising that delays at Defra in introducing policy to regulate this under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 makes the headlines this morning.
The house building sector is represented in the news as being set against "smart" drainage schemes (often referred to as sustainable urban drainage schemes, "SUDS") because of the potential loss of land for buildings. However, increasingly the sector is embracing the concepts and incorporating SUDS in designs for open space and landscaping - so combining their obligations for providing green infrastructure with creative solutions for dealing with surface water run off. They are bettering their credentials with the environmental lobby, in creating biodiversity in habitat creation (although wary of the great crested newts!). Dare I say it, they are creating Mr Boles's "beautiful places".
And the reason the housebuilders are doing this and the planners in local authorities are seeking it in approval of designs for new housing is because they realise that the dull, soulless estates which were delivered in the not so distant past no longer meet the needs and aspirations of householders. Not only will houses built to high standards of design extended to their wider estate setting, in attractive and eco-friendly environments leave a good and sustainable lasting legacy, they will sell well.