Icelandic visitors to hear about city’s sustainable drainage systems

Next week Highland Council staff from the Development and Infrastructure Service will be meeting a group of Icelandic delegates to look at the work that has been carried out on Sustainable Urban Drainage systems (SUDS) in Inverness. 

In the past drainage techniques have traditionally been below ground tanks and pipes, which transported water away as quickly as possible, leading to rivers becoming overloaded and causing flooding. SuDS are designed to act more like natural habitat. They collect rainwater from roofs, roads and pavements in man-made ponds or detention basins where it can be slowly released in to rivers and streams to prevent flooding

A successful collaboration between Scottish Natural Heritage and Highland Council in 2015 resulted in the identification of forty SuDS ponds and Detention Basins in the Inverness and Culloden area. These systems are now part of all new housing development plans and are designed to reduce the risk of flooding and water quality in built up areas. They are designed to look like natural ponds or wetland areas and are planted with native vegetation. It is because of this that they are a safe haven for wildlife, providing a home for animals like the common frog, toad and different species of newt.  

In 2017 a Graduate Research student with the Council mapped all these sites, assessing them in detail for their contribution to biodiversity within the city.

During the visit, which takes place next Wednesday, Katy Martin from the Council’s Environment, Advice & Consultancy Team will talk about this work and then Alan Fraser, an Engineer in the council’s flood team will discuss the plans for sustainable water management as part of the Smithton and Culloden Flood Scheme which is due to break ground later this year. 

Scotland is recognised internationally as a leader in the application of ‘soft engineering’ drainage infrastructure to help manage flood risks and diffuse pollution and this group of engineers, planners and scientists from Iceland is the latest international delegation to visit to learn about experiences here. 

Tour leader Halldora Hreggviosdottir, said that their aims for the visit were: “to see the technology in practice and learn about the planning, engineering and public services which guide it into routine use.” 

The Highland Council’s Chair of Environment, Development and Infrastructure, Councillor Allan Henderson hopes the visitors find their fact finding trip to Inverness rewarding.  He said: “Highland Council spokesperson said: Our natural environment is a national asset worth millions to the Scottish economy; protection measures which further enhance our landscapes and settlements are important for that economic priority

“The delegates from Iceland will have a chance see for themselves and hear first-hand from our staff on the important role SUDS ponds play in our urban green networks and the work we are doing to make future SUDS ponds even better for wildlife and as accessible as possible so local communities can enjoy these miniature nature reserves on their doorsteps.” 

As well as visiting Inverness the Iceland visitors who are in Scotland from 23-27th April, will be visiting sites in Glasgow, Fife Kinross and Edinburgh.


Former Graduate Research Trainee Marcia Rae at one of the SUD sites around Inverness


19 Apr 2018