A school in Newmarket has become the first in East Anglia to get an eco-drainage scheme from Anglian Water that will help to reduce the risk of flooding from excess surface water.

Newmarket schoolchildren starting back at All Saints’ C of E Primary School this term arrived to a green-fingered surprise after Anglian Water installed a brand new Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) at the school.

The water company is proposing to roll out a series of these SuDS schemes across the region to combat the vast amount of hard surfaces in urban areas and to aid natural drainage that reduces the risk of flooding. SuDS can also provide a wealth of benefits including increased biodiversity, community engagement and resilience to climate change.

When it rains, water pours off of hard surfaces like roofs, roads, car parks and playgrounds and into sewers. By introducing green areas and permeable surfaces, like raingardens, planters and tree bowls, the risk of flooding can be reduced.

Plants and trees soak up rainwater and slow the speed at which it enters the sewers, reducing the chance of them overflowing. The greenery is also really attractive and provides a home to wildlife and biodiversity as well as a great learning environment for children.

Nick Sexton, Anglian Water’s innovation manager in Newmarket, said: “With the growing population and expansion of our urban areas there are more and more hard surfaces.

“In heavy storms, rain runs off of these hard surfaces – especially playgrounds and car parks – and gushes into our sewers or can’t escape fast enough and causes flooding. It’s a bit like a plughole in a bath; it takes time for the water to drain away.

“With climate change making heavy downpours and the risk of flooding more likely, we’re looking at sustainable ways to manage the rain when it lands.

“If you were a rain drop you’d probably be happier if you landed on a plant or soil than on concrete. And this is what our SuDS schemes do – make rain happy, and reduce the risk of flooding in the process.”

Anglian Water has funded and installed:

  • a tree pit at the front of the school with a bench for parents to enjoy
  • a water droplet-shaped rain garden
  • a series of planters which enable the school drainpipes to be disconnected from the foul sewer
  • a watering can and cloud waterfall system to flow rainwater into the planters
  • education material for the planters
  • a gazebo-style outdoor classroom, chosen by the school, for the children to learn more about the environment and water cycle
  • A weather station to help support the education of children to monitor the climate at the school

Jane Trampnow, Head Teacher at All Saints, praised the work of Anglian Water, saying: “We’re delighted to have worked with Anglian Water to provide our school with an exciting and engaging system which can stimulate the children to learn more about the water cycle. The brilliant new outdoor classroom provides the children with a stimulating environment in which to learn, whilst also improving their wellbeing.”

The project helps to foster a sense of responsibility and community amongst pupils, involving them in the planting of the raingardens and decorating the outdoor classroom with the help of Anglian Water’s education team.

Anglian Water is proposing a £6.5 billion investment – the company’s largest ever investment programme – between 2020-2025 to tackle the impacts of climate change and flooding, whilst improving resilience and reducing leakage. It’s also building things more sustainably to reduce its carbon footprint at the same time.

Nick added: “We want to reduce and slow the amount of rainwater entering local sewer systems. Doing so using SuDS technology is more environmentally friendly than building bigger concrete sewers with a big carbon footprint. It’s also less disruptive and more attractive for the local community.”


For more information contact the Anglian Water Press Office on 0871 677 0123.

Notes to editors:
Images can be found here.

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Posted by Anglian Water