MGSDP Vision, Objectives and Guiding Principles

The MGSDP Vision is...

'to transform how the city region thinks about and manages rainfall to end uncontrolled flooding and improve water quality.'

The Vision will deliver the MGPSD Objectives through alignment with the MGSDP Guiding Principles, to sustainably drain the Glasgow city region.

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The MGSDP Objectives are...

Flood risk reduction - The MGSDP will continue to contribute to and assist the partners and Scottish Government in the implementation of the Flood Risk Management Act both nationally and locally via the Clyde and Loch Lomond (CaLL) Local Plan District (LPD) Flood Risk Management Strategy (FRMS) and Local Flood Risk Management Plan (LFRMP).

Further information on the challenges of flooding is available on our Flooding page.

River water quality improvement - Scotland has an obligation to set objectives for the water environment by the European Commission. Target objectives have been set to achieve a minimum of 'good' status for water bodies or to have them remain at their current status (if good or above) via 6 year planning cycles up to 2027. There is also an objective to avoid deterioration in current status for all water bodies.

Enabling economic development - Major investment and effort is still required to ensure that Glasgow's drainage network can cope with a changing climate, improve the environment and support modern development requirements. This investment is also critical for Metropolitan Glasgow's future economic prosperity. Without an effective drainage system, progress of urban development would be inhibited in some areas as it would be simply adding to the problem.

More developments mean less open land is available to absorb rainfall, creating greater and faster surface water run off which can overwhelm the drainage system and contribute to flooding. This can often be some distance away from the development itself. The MGSDP Vision is tasked with delivering methodologies and projects to meet these challenges.

Habitat improvement - Modernising Metropolitan Glasgow's ageing drainage and sewerage network is not simply about applying 'hard' engineering solutions to solve the problem. Protecting and enhancing the natural environment is also a key consideration. The Partnership's overarching aim is to provide a holistic approach to managing surface water which will reduce flood risk and unlock development potential, while improving water quality and allowing residential areas to harmonise with the natural landscape and greenspace areas.

Integrated investment planning - The planning system is a key delivery mechanism to deliver the MGSDP Vision. The MGSDP will raise awareness of constraints in drainage infrastructure, and the resolution of these, and support planning authorities' preparation of new local and strategic planning policies. It is recognised that drainage - both wastewater and surface water - are planning considerations. Planning authorities are therefore asked to consider steps they can take to contribute to the MGSDP. This is particularly relevant where local, regional and national surface water management plans are being developed and there is significant land take required to accommodate appropriate Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), green infrastructure and flood alleviation measures.

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The MGSDP Guiding Principles...

The MGSDP Vision and Objectives will be realised through collaborative working shaped by the following guiding principles:


Enhancement of our urban biodiversity and landscape

Surface water should be viewed as an asset to harness, not as a problem. Rather than putting water underground, this resource will be channelled to create natural, green-blue areas of biodiversity which will break-up the city's hard landscaping, enhance urban biodiversity and be a place for the public to enjoy. The presence of surface water will also contribute to the cooling of air thereby helping the urban environment to further adapt to climate change.

Reconnection to our waterways

Watercourses in the past were often either incorporated into the sewer network or modified to flow through buried pipes. As the water was out of sight, it became increasingly out of mind for local communities. This can explain why some communities allowed the quality of their local watercourses to deteriorate through polluted run-off or fly tipping along the banks. By re-establishing this connection, communities will be encouraged to take pride once again in the local watercourse. This connection will also help in developing an awareness of flood risk as the varying depth of water during and after periods of heavy rainfall will be visible rather than hidden.

Design for the severity of the rain

The impact of rainfall events varies as the intensity increases. At lower intensities, the primary impact of the events is a reduction in watercourse water quality as the rain washes pollutants off hard surfaces such as roads. As the rainfall intensity increases flooding will become the predominant impact and could even include storm events where there is also a risk that loss of life will occur.

Presumption that water will be kept on the surface

Hard engineering solutions should be discouraged in favour of projects which keep water on the surface. This will help raise the public's awareness of their responsibility for flood risk management as they will be able to see how storm water is managed. A full range of novel and innovative methods will be introduced but will require significant support and backing from developers, planners, design professionals and statutory bodies. It will also require, through re-education, an attitudinal change to land use and the perception of risk from surface water.

Creation of integrated blue-green networks

Many of the solutions which allow water to be managed on the surface will provide opportunities to enhance the environment. By creating and developing blue green networks / areas in the urban cityscape, it will help to manage flood risk issues, improve local habitats and enhance biodiversity. These areas should be considered in the provision of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in all new development and will be part of a upgrade approach in older urban environments.

Integrated urban masterplanning and design

Through the MGSDP, a great deal of work has been carried out to make surface water management a central and integrated part of urban design and masterplanning. Ensuring that this becomes the new norm across the city region will require a culture change in how development is delivered and the way assets like roads are viewed and utilised.

Sustainable and affordable drainage solutions

Diverting water underground and the building of bigger pipes to accommodate this flow has huge capital costs attached. While there will always be a place for such a response, it only provide a finite solution and can only be modified by replacing what was built with something bigger. Keeping water on the surface can be more cost effective but will often require taking novel approaches to maintain the viability of development. Maintenance issues also need to be considered to maximise the sustainable nature of this strategy. However with careful selection of methods and materials, the surface water solution can have longevity and provide additional environmental enhancements that far outweigh below ground solutions. This should be seen as a collective effort, where every little helps with the adoption of small measures by lots of people (e.g. adding a water-butt, reinstating grass areas, etc) making a significant difference.

Climate-change ready

Without taking action to adapt to a changing climate, the number and severity of flood events in the city region is likely to increase. This window of opportunity must therefore be seized to increase the resilience of our surface water drainage infrastructure to climate change.


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