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Jeremy Jones, Atkins Ltd

Technical Authority for Storm Water Management & Future Planning

Jeremy Jones

Once again this winter we have seen heavy rainfall and flash floods hit communities across the UK. When Storm Angus hit in November, we saw one area in Devon experience 96mm of rainfall within 48 hours and thousands of people went without electricity. Every time we experience heavy rainfall the question is asked ‘are we doing enough across the UK to futureproof our cities against our changing weather patterns?

We are faced with ever increasing flows from the effects of Climate Change, Urban Creep and continuous growth and development.

Traditional methods of managing surface water involving the network of drains and pipes (which incidentally were never built to manage our high levels of surface water) are no longer a sustainable solution. The reason being that during a period of heavy rain, the sewage network can become overloaded by surface water, which can lead to the networks overflowing. In the past the approach was to build larger pipes in our network and bigger storage tanks to address this, the direction of travel has started to change.

Engineers are being forced into developing new approaches to the management of Storm Water. This paper will explore the development of Green infrastructure and how it benefits bio-diversity. Green Infrastructure or Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in the Urban Environment requires imagination and the collaboration of a whole range of compatible skillsets such as Landscape Architects, engineers, ecologists, economists, environmentalists and planners.

Until now the approach to building solutions in this sector has focussed on bespoke engineers. What we are now witnessing is the need for ecologists feeding their skillsets into the solutions and thereby enhancing and developing bio-diversity. Aside from the obvious benefits of SuDS such as reducing the need to pump and treat surface water and reducing the risk of flooding – there are a number of other plus points such as improving local biodiversity, improving the amenity value, reducing heat island effects and improving air quality. The introduction of surface water management (and specifically SuDS) is an exciting time, not just for the water companies, but also their customers who will ultimately benefit from this. What is interesting for ecologists is that we are now seeing a direct value set against bio-diversity which acknowledges the unique benefits it brings.

The collaboration with Local Authorities to implement these features can bring nature right to the doorstep of communities increasing Health and Well Being and transforming the urban streetscape.

Short Biography: Jeremy Jones is a Chartered Engineer, Chartered Environmentalist and Chartered Water and Environmental Manager with over 30 years of experience gained in engineering, new technology and environmental projects. He is a former Trustee of CIWEM and sits on the Professional Standards Committee. He has led the way in developing new approaches to the management of water and storm runoff. He joined Atkins after running his own consultancy for over 17 years and during that time was a specialist consultant to many of the large engineering consultancies, Water Companies, Developers and Government at National, Regional and Local level

As Technical Lead for Atkins in Storm Water Management & Planning, Jeremy is passionate about the need to develop multi-disciplinary approaches that take advantage of skills such as Engineering, Ecology, Landscape Architecture, Planning, Meteorology, Economics as well as New Technology.