While our pathfinder projects are being developed by our Clean Rivers and Seas Task Force, everyone can help reduce the amount of storm overflow releases in a number of different ways.

These include installing water butts to capture excess water, avoiding paving over driveways – instead using soakaways to mimic natural water management – and making better use of smart drainage solutions.

Every small action makes a difference. The sustainable, nature-based drainage solutions we put in place now will deliver benefits for future generations, increasing biodiversity, wellbeing, and economic prosperity.

Seven ways to ‘slow the flow’
  • Permeable is the word - Plant grass instead of paving for paths, install flower beds and permeable slabs.
  • Have off road parking? - Allow your driveway to run off into a flower bed or patch of grass rather than a drain.
  • Building an extension? - Check that the water coming off the roof doesn’t connect directly to the sewer, use a drain chain into a flower bed.
  • Collect rainwater or slow it down - by installing slow-drain water butts or planters, find out how you can help slow the flow and prevent the use of storm overflows.
  • Speak up about green spaces - Talk to your local community leaders and groups about local greening projects and sustainable drainage solutions in parks i.e., reduce non-permeable, concrete areas
  • Only flush the 3 Ps (Pee, Poo, Paper) - Wet wipes, nappies, sanitary or other unflushables go in the bin. Collect fats, oils and greases rather than pouring them down the drain.
  • Spot a pollution - Contact us about suspected pollutions so we can act right away.


Local authorities
  • Install sustainable drainage solutions. Planters, tree pits, raingardens all reduce the number of hard surfaces in the community, diverting surface water back to the environment.
  • Build awareness and enforce regulations around paved driveways. Driveways over 5m2 require planning permission. Make sure they are permeable or have put in place drainage solutions.
  • Make sure rainwater run-off from extensions is connected to surface drains rather than the sewer
  • Only approve new development that demonstrates surface water is separated from the combined sewer.
  • Make sure green spaces or sustainable drainage solutions are in place to absorb rainwater run-off.
  • Encourage communities to green their gardens increasing biodiversity and tackling rainwater run-off.
  • Encourage the use of water butts or raingarden planters
  • Provide a list of surface water overflows. Explain who owns what.
  • Promote awareness of how to reduce the use of storm overflows.
  • Promote the importance of ony flushing the 3 Ps (poo, pee, paper) to prevent blockages. Wet wipes and fat, oil and grease block drains.
  • Maintain highways gullies to prevent blockages.
  • Partner with us on schemes to improve the use of sustainable drainage solutions in the community.


Local businesses
  • Do you have a large surface area on your land such as car park, large roof, playground? Check if your surface water runs into the sewer.
  • Install raingarden planters or disconnect the surface water on site through sustainable drainage measures.

Learn more about what we are doing and how we could work together – email us at [email protected]