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DEFRA’s Future Water Welcomed by Marshalls

Marshalls plc, the UK’s leading hard landscaping transformation company, has welcomed the initiatives set out in the Government’s water strategy for England, Future Water.

The new 98 page, document released earlier this month by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) sets out the Government’s long-term vision for water and the framework for water management in England.

One of the key areas highlighted in the report was the future management of surface water drainage. The Environment Agency has estimated that up to two thirds of the floods which happened last summer (2007) were caused by significant amounts of surface water overwhelming the drainage systems. To tackle this issue it is launching a public consultation on how we can better protect homes by tackling the risks from surface water.

Chris Harrop, Group Marketing Director, Marshalls plc, said of this proposal:

“The growing problems of surface water run off into our drainage networks causing flooding is an issue that Marshalls has been addressing for numerous years. During this time we have developed the UK’s most extensive range of sustainable urban drainage system (SUDs) solutions for both the commercial and domestic markets. The consultation process and the proposals it will investigate is welcomed by us in helping to resolve what is now recognised as a serious environmental issue.”

One area where it will affect both householder and house builder alike are the measures to be taken to decrease the amount of water running to drains by using sustainable drainage systems and thus increasing the amount of water allowed to drain into surrounding ground. This will comprise proposed changes to the planning system so that permission is needed for paving over front gardens unless permeable materials are used.

Chris Harrop, continues:

“These issues are complex. We have a growing number of households needing to park 2 or more cars as children stay at home well into their 20’s, more and more of us are commuting longer distances to work, consumers are seeking aesthetically suitable materials for the front of their houses and clearly there is a growing problem of climate change and extreme rainfall events.

“Being able to supply practical and aesthetics solutions which meet these changing conditions is key for the industry. Marshalls has already developed a domestic range of SUDs to meet these needs that are both practical and aesthetic.

“Our permeable driveway range, Priora and Tegula Priora is the ideal solution. Both products are designed to enable surface water to drain at source rather than in to the hard pressed drainage networks.

“We have also introduced Grassgaurd which is a permeable grass grid for domestic hard standing areas. This is an innovative, sustainable alternative to traditional concrete block paving. With an open grid pattern it allows grass to grow through the blocks giving a green option for driveways and hard standing areas at the front of the house. And again surface water is dispersed naturally in to the ground alleviating any drainage issues.

“Marshalls recognise that these new products require expert installation and we have already begun educating and training our Marshalls Register of Installers about these issues and how to install a Marshalls’ permeable system for the home. Over the next 12 months we will be working to ensure that all of our 2000 strong installer teams are offered this essential new training. We are also informing our stockists of the benefits of the systems and will now make them very much aware of this new thinking.”