17th July 2020

An award winning SuDS scheme – Climate Innovation District, Leeds

It has been an award winning week for one of our projects, the Climate Innovation District in Leeds. Earlier in the week, the development won a Housing Design Award and then yesterday, the SuDS (sustainable urban drainage scheme) on the project was a joint winner in the large scale new build development category at the Susdrain awards, organised by CIRIA. The awards recognise outstanding and innovative sustainable drainage schemes.

We’re the civil, structural and transport engineers on this incredible project. We’ve been involved from the very start, working in partnership with developers Citu and with the design team including White Arkitekter and Layer Landscape. The project is a great example of true collaboration as a design team.

The Climate Innovation District is a £250m car-free housing development in Leeds. Currently being constructed on a brownfield site on the banks of the River Aire, it is the largest sustainable development in the UK. It aims to create sustainable, low carbon communities, and deliver on the vision of ‘accelerating the transition to zero carbon cities’ .

The now delivered extensive SuDS strategy makes the infastructure work as hard as possible by making it multifunctional. The strategy includes; 

  • All of the outdoor spaces are designed to be enjoyed by the residents for meeting, playing growing etc. cars are kept to the periphery of the development which allowed us to employ a whole site SuDS approach. 
  • All of the external surfaces are permeable including reinforced gravels and grasses in the areas that have been designed for occasional traffic and more traditional planting and raingardens. There is a continuous drainage layer beneath all of the surfaces as such the pavements and landscape itself has been designed to collect, convey and attenuate the surface water that isn’t taken up by the planting.
  • As well as the source control elements site level attenuation for extreme events is provided in landscaped basins that the majority of the time are used by residents for play or as general outdoor amenity space. 
  • Due to the ground conditions are the site the water is ultimately discharged to the River Aire at a very low rate via low flow channels on the River bank. 

The judges were particularly impressed by how innovative the scheme was as it ‘shows what is possible on a constrained site’ and that is  ‘multi functionality delivered well.’ Well done to all our team who work on the project, our collaborators and of course Citu.

Graphic copyright NCE

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