Sustainable Drainage Approval Body (SAB)

Page updated on: 01/03/2019

The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 (Schedule 3) requires new developments to include Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) features that comply with national standards.

An application demonstrating compliance with the Statutory SuDS Standards for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of surface water drainage systems serving new developments, must be submitted to the SAB.

Applications may be submitted to the SAB for determination either directly as a free standing application or alongside the planning application.

It is important to note that construction work which has drainage implications must not be commenced unless the drainage system for the work has been approved by the SAB.

SuDS can be used effectively in both rural and urban areas to support new development and redevelopment, whilst reducing the risk of surface water flooding and creating opportunities for improved water quality, bio-diverse rich habitats and new community recreational spaces.

The requirement for SAB approval applies to all construction work which has drainage implications where the development or redevelopment is more than a single dwelling house or involves the construction of a building or other structure covering an area of land equal to or greater than 100 square meters (unless it falls under one of the specific exemptions or transitional arrangements).

In the legislation for sustainable drainage:

  • Construction work means anything done by way of, in connection with or in preparation for the creation of a building or other structure, and
  • Construction work has drainage implications if the building or structure will affect the ability of the land to absorb rainwater.
  • Construction area is generally defined in the regulations for sustainable drainage as the construction of a building or other structure covering an area of land of 100 square metres or more

The SAB approves and adopts any part of a drainage system that serves more than a single property.

Developers will need to enter into a legal adoption agreement as a part of the SAB consent process.

The SAB does not approve and, as consequence does not adopt, a drainage system which:

  • forms part of the strategic road network
  • forms part of the national rail network
  • forms part of a harbour
  • serves permitted development under 100m2 and
  • is constructed by the internal drainage board under its functions in the Land Drainage Act 1991.

It is proposed to make transitional arrangements as follows:

  • Existing sites and developments with planning permission granted or deemed to be granted (whether or not subject to any conditions as to a reserved matter – but see also below) or for which a valid application has been received, but not determined by 7 January 2019, will not be required to apply for SAB approval.
  • SAB approval will still be required if the planning permission was granted subject to a condition as to a reserved matter and an application for approval of the reserved matter is not made before 7 January 2020.

The SAB approves but will not adopt a drainage system in a publicly maintained road. Publicly maintained roads are those to which section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 applies.

The SAB will offer a pre-application service to discuss in detail your site’s drainage requirements and what needs to be submitted with your application. This service may be separate from the planning pre-application service so early engagement between yourself and relevant services will need to take place. This will ensure suitability of proposed SuDs design in line with national standards and adequate site layout. We strongly recommend that you use this service before you submit your full application, to limit delays to approval and reduce cost in the long term.

All submissions will need to be made to the relevant SAB as these cannot be submitted via the Planning Portal or Planning Application Wales.

The following guidance notes and application forms (.docx & pdf versions) are available to download.

Fees are calculated based on the size of the construction area.

  • You do not need to apply for construction areas less than 100m2.
  • You need to submit the appropriate fee with your application.
  • There is a 50% reduction for applications submitted by community councils.

Fee Calculator

Additional fees

If your application is approved and subject to a condition that an inspection(s) of the SuDS scheme is undertaken, there is an inspection fee of £168 for each inspection.

Approved applications could also incur additional fees for temporary bonds that may be required to secure the construction work, together with a funded maintenance plan for the drainage system. These costs vary dependent on the nature and scale of the work. You will be made aware of the requirements as part of the approval process. If you are unsure of any aspect of the fees contact the SAB team directly.

These fees are based upon The Flood and Water Management Act 2010, Schedule 3, The Sustainable Drainage (Application for Approval Fees)(Wales) Regulations 2018.

The correct fee must be submitted with your application otherwise it will not be validated and no work will be undertaken on processing or assessing your application.

To make your payment you will need to provide the following details:

  • Type of application e.g. SAB application
  • Application reference number (or name and application location if you do not have a reference number yet)
  • The correct application fee (please contact us if you need clarification)

By Telephone

We accept Maestro, Solo or Visa debit cards. If you’d like to speak to a member of staff in the cashier's team - call 01267 228686 during office hours.

By Post

Please make cheques payable to ‘Carmarthenshire County Council’ and post to: SAB Registrations, Civic Offices, Crescent Road, Llandeilo, SA19 6HW.

In Person

We operate 3 payment offices where payments can be made in person by cash, credit/debit card or by cheque. Details and opening times can be viewed for each location:

BACS Payment

Please email for further details.

Carmarthenshire County Council, under paragraph 11(5) of Schedule-3 must determine:

  • an application that relates to a development that is the subject of an EIA application under the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Wales) Regulations 2017 within the period of 12 weeks beginning on the first working day after it receives a validly-made application, or
  • any other application within the period of 7 weeks beginning on the first working day after it receives a validly-made application

Securing a sustainable funding mechanism for the lifetime of development is a key objective of the SuDS Approving Body (SAB). The SAB has a responsibility for the management and maintenance of SuDS assets after they have been adopted. Therefore commuted sum aims to ensure that the SAB has the resources to cover the upkeep and (where appropriate) the replacement of the assets they have adopted. The effectiveness of SuDS and the associated multiple benefits will rely on appropriate maintenance.

In order to ensure consistency throughout Wales, the use of the industry standard guidance “Commuted Sums for Maintaining Infrastructure Assets” prepared by the CSS (County Surveyors Society), is to be used, to calculate commuted sums for all drainage assets being adopted by the SAB, whether that be through a S38 agreement or a bespoke legal agreement for the life of the developments (60-120 years).

The calculation of a commuted sum includes consideration of:

  • The estimated periodic maintenance cost of the asset to the adopted e.g. every six months. The SuDs manual provides useful information on this element.
  • Its future cost of renewal or replacement (e.g. permeable paving has design life of 20 years, over the lifetime of the development this could lead to 3 replacements).
  • The duration over which the sum is required. The Association of Directors of Planning and Transport recommends commuted sums for structures should be calculated to cover a 120 year period and that the period for other items should be 60 years (basically the whole life of the development).
  • The effective annual interest rate that will provide a return on the sum invested prior to its expenditure after the effects of inflation have been taken into account (called the discount rate approx. 2.2%).

The use of the CSS guidance is recommended to provide a common understanding for developers and the SAB.

Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 (FWMA) establishes SABs in county councils. The Act gives us statutory responsibility for approving and adopting the approved drainage systems.

The SAB is established to:

  • Evaluate and approve drainage applications for new developments where construction work has drainage implications, and
  • Adopt and maintain surface water drainage systems according to Section 17 of Schedule 3 (FWMA).