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Retrofitting SuDS in the urban environment

Event organised by ICE

30 April 2024

This event has now ended


One of the greatest challenges for surface water management is the legacy of drainage networks that struggle to cope with the increase in surface water volumes due to increased urbanisation and climate change. During heavy storms drainage systems can become overloaded, and a lack of capacity in the drainage network can negatively impact on development opportunities.

SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) are surface water management measures which mimic natural hydrological processes, offering benefits in flood risk management, water quality, biodiversity, and public amenity.

Whilst SuDS have become a natural design component of new housing developments, the retrofitting of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are sometimes considered more difficult or costly to implement and manage in the longer term. This can lead designers and decision makers to select surface water management solutions that are reliable, but not always the optimum solution for our natural environment, or our ambition to decarbonise our civil infrastructure.

This webinar will present three case studies, with examples from differing regulatory and funding frameworks in Wales, England, and Scotland, where SuDS retrofit schemes have been effectively designed, agreed, and implemented. It will highlight the benefits they have brought for the community, its effectiveness in surface water management, the steps taken to achieve success, plus it will highlight some of the challenges faced along the way and how they were overcome.

Join us at this lunchtime webinar, where you can put your questions to engineers and practitioners who have done this well, against similar challenges which you may be facing, and take away how you can apply their expertise and experience to your own surface water management retrofitting challenges.




The UK's leading manufacturer and supplier of plastic drainage piping solutions for above and below ground projects.


12:00 - 12:05

Chair’s welcome

  • Jo Parker, chair – Water and Sanitation Community Advisory Board, ICE
12:05 - 12:25

Case study 1: Wood Street (Central Square), Cardiff

  • Dan Tram, principal civil engineer, Arup
12:25 - 12:45

Case study 2: Priors Farm Estate SuDS Retrofitting Project, Cheltenham

  • Sue Illman, managing director, Illman Young Landscape Design Ltd.
12:45 - 13:05

Case study 3: Queensland Court and Gardens

  • Gaye McKay, flood risk officer, Glasgow City Council
13:05 - 13:25

Q&A session

13:25 - 13:30

Chair's summary


Event close


Jo Parker

Jo Parker


chair of the water and sanitation community advisory board

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Jo Parker

Jo Parker is a chartered civil engineer who works as an independent consultant, having worked in the water industry for more than 40 years. She has held senior roles with UK water companies up to director level and has also worked in a range of other countries as varied as Afghanistan and Australia.

Jo was awarded an MBE in 1994 for services to the water industry. She is chair of the ICE’s Water and Sanitation Community Advisory Board, vice-president for engineering at the Institute of Water, and a fellow of the International Water Association. She was voted one of the UK’s top 50 women engineers in 2020 by the Women’s Engineering Society.

Dan Tram 

Dan Tram 


principal civil engineer

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Dan Tram 

Dan has worked for Arup, a global sustainable development consultancy, for six years. As a senior engineer in Arup’s water team, he advocates and delivers sustainable solutions to the many challenges that we face, with a particular focus on using nature and sustainable water management to reshape our towns and cities.

Dan is passionate about projects that benefit society, considering and maximising opportunities to address environmental and socio-economic issues.

Sue Illman

Sue Illman

Illman Young Landscape Design Limited

managing director

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Sue Illman

A past President of the Landscape Institute and honorary fellow of both the Society for the Environment, and University of Gloucestershire, Sue is a practicing landscape architect and a specialist in historic landscape conservation, with a long-term interest and expertise in hard landscape construction and planting design.

Sue is a passionate advocate for Sustainable Drainage Sytems (SuDS) as a key element in sustainable design practices. She has extensive experience in both lecturing and the delivery of training about SuDS and also speaks about the wider subject of sustainability, of which water is a key part.

She frequently acts as project manager for landscape-led projects, and has strong skills in delivery, particularly where there are complex or difficult site constraints.

Gaye McKay

Gaye McKay

Glasgow City Council

flood risk officer

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Gaye McKay

Gaye McKay is an environmental scientist, with 25 years’ experience working for both regulatory authorities and the private sector. She has extensive experience in flood risk management, catchment management and sustainable drainage.

She was formerly the co-ordinator of the UK SuDS monitoring project and assisted in the development of several SEPA guidance documents on SUDS. In addition, she was co-author of the CIRIA publication, Planning for SUDS: Making it Happen. She was also responsible for reporting the findings of the public consultation document ‘The Future of Flood Risk Management in Scotland’ to the Scottish Government.