Sustainable drainage system site assessment method using urban ecosystem services

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The United Kingdom’s recently updated approach to sustainable drainage enhanced biodiversity and amenity objectives by incorporating the ecosystem approach and the ecosystem services concept. However, cost-effective and reliable methods to appraise the biodiversity and amenity values of potential sustainable drainage system (SuDS) sites and their surrounding areas are still lacking, as is a method to enable designers to distinguish and link the amenity and biodiversity benefits that SuDS schemes can offer. In this paper, therefore, the authors propose two ecosystem services- and disservices-based methods (i.e. vegetation structure cover-abundance examination and cultural ecosystem services and disservices variables appraisal) to aid SuDS designers to distinguish and link amenity and biodiversity benefits, and allow initial site assessments to be performed in a cost-effective and reliable fashion. Forty-nine representative sites within Greater Manchester were selected to test the two methods. Amenity and biodiversity were successfully assessed and habitat for species, carbon sequestration, recreation and education ecosystem services scores were produced, which will support SuDS retrofit design decision-making. Large vegetated SuDS sites with permanent aquatic features were found to be most capable of enhancing biodiversity- and amenity-related ecosystem services. Habitat for species and recreation ecosystem services were also found to be positively linked to each other. Finally, waste bins on site were found to help reduce dog faeces and litter coverage. Overall, the findings presented here enable future SuDS retrofit designs to be more wildlife friendly and socially inclusive.


External organisations
  • University of Salford
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Water Engineering
  • Environmental Sciences


  • Best management practice, Biodiversity, Carbon sequestration, Culture, Habitat for species, Vegetation structure
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-307
JournalUrban Ecosystems
Issue number2
Early online date2016 Sep 6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Apr
Publication categoryResearch