Icelandic delegation to hear about Inverness sustainable drainage systems

Former graduate research trainee Marcia Rae at one of the SUD sites around Inverness

A delegation from Iceland is set to visit Inverness this week to view work being carried out on Sustainable Urban Drainage systems (SUDS) in the city.

Highland Council staff from the development and infrastructure service will meet the group of Icelandic engineers, planners and scientists on Wednesday, 25 April to showcase the ‘soft engineering’ drainage infrastructure.

A successful collaboration between Scottish Natural Heritage and the council in 2015 resulted in the identification of 40 SUDS ponds and Detention Basins in the Inverness and Culloden area.

In 2017, a Graduate Research student worked alongside the council to map all the sites, assessing them in detail for their contribution to biodiversity within the city.

The systems now part of all new housing development plans and are designed to reduce the risk of flooding and water quality in built up areas. In addition, they are designed to look like natural ponds or wetland areas and are planted with native vegetation. Overall, the technique allows rainwater to be collected 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.

During the delegation’s visit, Katy Martin from the council’s environment, advice & consultancy team will talk about the 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.

Chair of environment, development and infrastructure, Councillor Allan Henderson, hopes the visitors find their fact finding trip to Inverness rewarding.

He 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.”

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

As well as visiting Inverness, the delegation will also tour sites in Glasgow, Fife, Kinross and Edinburgh.

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