Sunderland’s Labour Group has instructed an independent study that will check whether water networks can support increased development across the city.

The city’s ruling Labour Group has commissioned a Water Cycle Study to understand the impact of development on water and sewerage networks across Sunderland.  The report, which will take around six months to complete, will be undertaken by an independent third party who will assess and consider a range of technical details about the city’s water networks and sewerage systems.  The report will use evidence and information from various partners and stakeholders to show how strategic development sites can make sure:

  • there is enough wastewater capacity for new development – for example capacity to collect, transport and treat wastewater (both foul and surface water);
  • there is adequate water supply for new developments – where there are pressures, development plan documents may need to include a policy requiring the higher level of water efficiency for new housing;
  • the risk of flooding is limited, particularly from surface water;
  • there is good water quality within the local catchment; and
  • natural capital (such as forests, rivers, land and minerals) is not degraded, for example, through soil erosion from surface water runoff.

The study is a two-stage process and is expected to conclude by the end of the year.  It was commissioned after instruction from the city’s Labour Group, to address concerns of a small number of residents about the impact of development on Sunderland’s water system and sewerage capacity.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “Sunderland is a transforming city, and that’s something we are proud of, but we have to ensure that the infrastructure we have in place – including our water and sewerage systems – are able to meet the increased demands that can put on them.

“This report will give us definitive answers about the capacity of water systems, where there may be pressures, and how we mitigate to ensure that our developments are sustainable.  We listen to our residents and we know this is something some residents would like reassurance on and indeed, as councillors, we want that same reassurance that we are suitably serviced to deliver sustainable development that is kind to the planet.”