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Smart system to stop city centre pollution flowing into the Sound

Safeguarding the city centre from the risks of future flooding and reducing the amount of pollution flowing into the Sound, are the main benefits of the new water management system proposed for Armada Way.

The sustainable urban drainage system (SuDS) proposed for Armada Way has been recognised by the Environment Agency as a smart and sustainable way of reducing pollution, easing pressure on the local sewer system and re-using rainwater to water plants and trees.

As part of the current consultation on the proposals for Armada Way, Plymouth City Council is proposing an innovative system that would use rain gardens along Armada Way and huge underground storage tanks. These tanks would fill with rainwater after being filtered through a series of natural reed beds. The water would then be recirculated around Armada Way through an ornamental stream, which would run the length of the proposed scheme. 

The system would be powered by new solar canopies based at Place de Brest, and on either side of the toilets. This is part of the new administration’s commitment to  boost renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions.

Councillor Tom Briars-Delve, Plymouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said:

“Our combined sewer system in the city centre was built in the 1940s.  It was not designed to cope with modern day living. Currently all our rainwater runs into the sewer, along with the foul water from nearby businesses and residential properties. When the sewers are full, this mucky water pours out into the Sound.

“As our City Centre grows, the amount of pressure on the aged sewer system increases and there is a growing risk of flooding.

“Our proposed innovative SuDS system will remove that pressure. The large underground tanks already exist and have been there for a number of years.

“The new system will also enable the watering of the new and existing trees on Armada Way, and it will reduce the amount of muck and pollution being pushed out into the Sound.

“Powered by new solar panels, this clearly is a win win for local people and it is a win win for the environment.”

Bruce Newport from the Environment Agency, praised the proposed SuDS system, as being more climate resilient and best practice for handling urban water. He said:

“This is an excellent opportunity to ensure Armada Way can manage surface water sustainably and play its role in delivering the new wider surface water drainage system for the city centre.  This will support green growth and increase the city centre’s resilience to climate change.”

To see all the proposals for Armada Way and have your say, please go to: before the 28 November 2023.