Reducing flood risk for the residents of Embleton Road in Bristol

Children learning how Sustainable Drainage Systems work

Working with Little Meads Primary Academy to design and build SuDS

Residents learning about SuDS at a community design workshop

Residents learning about SuDS at a community design workshop

26 June 2015

We work with communities to design and build Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) that help to manage flood risk and water quality, as well as providing other benefits that create great places to live.

SuDS can take a number of forms, two popular and efficient types are: 

Rain Gardens

Small planted areas, normally found along streets. The soil and plants will absorb some of the water produced during heavy rain. By capturing and treating the first part of a heavy rainfall event, a large fraction of pollutants collected from the street (and other hard surfaced areas) will also be reduced, improving the quality of water as it enters local rivers.


Like a rain garden, a swale is an absorbent, often planted area. A swale is larger than a rain garden, and is normally found in existing green areas such as parks and large verges. Because they are larger, swales capture more water than rain gardens, holding back excess water produced by heavy rain, reducing flood risk to areas downstream.

Embleton Road SuDS

We have been working with local residents and the children of Little Meads Primary Academy to help make Embleton Road greener and safer, improving drainage, water quality and encouraging more responsible driving, using Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS).

Embleton Road SuDS is part of Bristol Green Capital 2015, and we’re working in partnership with Bristol City Council.

Why Embleton Road?

Embleton Road is an area within Southmead that would benefit from better surface water drainage to reduce the likelihood of flooding, as well as improving water quality.

The Bristol Surface Water Management Plan identified Southmead as an area with surface water flooding problems. The area also suffers from poor water quality; the Southmead River Trym (the destination of most surface water flows in Southmead), forms part of a classified ‘failing’ water body under the Water Framework Directive.

The project has been very popular within the school and the local residents and has achieved the following key outcomes:





















Designing Embleton Road SuDS

To deliver this project we have been working closely with Little Meads Primary Academy and local residents.

A number of workshops were held with pupils and teachers at the school during June and July 2015. During these workshops pupils designed and built SuDS systems and considered how Embleton Road might be improved to create a safer, more active environment. The results of these workshops were used to inform a later community design workshop held in early July on Embleton Road.

During this workshop residents learned more about SuDS and took part in creating designs positioning a number of rain gardens along Embleton Road and swales within the park at the end of the road. As well as managing surface water a key focus of the design is to encourage more responsible behaviour by drivers using Embleton Road.

The results of the workshop were taken away and have now been produced into final designs by engineers in Bristol City Council. Construction is currently programmed to begin mid to late January 2016.

A number of workshops will be held with Little Meads Primary Academy in the new year. These workshops will focus on producing information boards to let people know the purpose of the project, as well as designing a number of large ‘leaf motifs’, to be fitted to the road and accompany the newly installed SuDS.

To find out more about Embleton Road SuDS, get in touch.

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Embleton Road SuDS was implemented with funding from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).