Economic analysis of wider benefits to facilitate SuDS uptake in London, UK

Elsevier, Sustainable Cities and Society, Volume 28, 1 January 2017
Ossa-Moreno J., Smith K.M., Mijic A.
Urban water management via Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) has been successfully applied in cities worldwide. This infrastructure has proven to be a cost efficient solution to manage flood risks whilst also delivering wider benefits. Despite their technical performance, large-scale SuDS uptake in many places has been slow, mostly due to reasons beyond the engineering realm. This is the case of England and Wales, where the implementation of SuDS has not reached its full potential. This paper investigates the strategic role of SuDS retrofit in managing environmental risks to urban infrastructure at a catchment level, through an economic appraisal of all benefits (i.e. flood reduction and wider benefits). The Decoy Brook catchment in London, UK, was used as a case study. Average Annual Benefits were used to monetise the value of SuDS in reducing surface flood risk, whilst a Value Transfer approach was used to appraise wider benefits. It was found that by including the latter, their economic feasibility improves considerably. This paper also shows how to split the investment amongst multiple stakeholders, by highlighting the benefits each one derives. Finally, recommendations regarding incentives and policies to enhance the uptake of SuDS are given. The proposed methodology for SuDS mapping and economic appraisal in the planning phase can be used in cities worldwide, as long as general principles are adapted to local contexts.