SuDSlab UK

A Living Lab for Sustainable Drainage

Project summary

The Challenge

Understanding better how SuDS perform in the real-world.

The Approach

Using remote sensors to collect long term, real-time data to monitor and analyse how SuDS work.

The Outcome

Helping to increase knowledge, widen acceptance and encourage deployment of SuDS. Raising community awareness of flood risk.

Lead academics

Project partners

We are working with a range of partners detailed in the individual projects below

The Challenge

Watch our introduction to Sudslab UK

Most days we give little thought to water in our urban environments. Yet only by managing surface water effectively can we avoid the devastation of widespread flooding when drainage systems are overwhelmed by heavy rainfall. In this way, SuDS have a vital role to play in helping society adapt to the consequences of climate change which is expected to bring more frequent heavy rainstorm events

SuDSlab UK is an initiative of the University of Hull to evaluate the effectiveness of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) and through engagement with communities, risk management authorities and other partners to better utilise them. SuDSlab UK is formed of sub-projects such as Blue-Green Lab, DIG and our partnership with Living With Water, each of which help contribute to our main challenges.


SuDSlab UK has over 300 sensors measuring hydrometric data


Our main challenges are to:

  • Understand better how SuDS can be made more efficient at slowing and filtering surface water
  • Optimise SuDS for different rainfall conditions and maximise their benefit for the wider catchment
  • Encourage awareness of how water can be managed sustainably in our towns and cities
  • Educate people about water management and sustainability
  • Provide examples that demonstrate how citizens and developers can manage water sustainably.

The full research team

The Approach

In 2020, we recognised the need to better understand the hydrological processes within SuDS in order to evaluate and improve performance across a catchment. To this end, we established the SuDSlab UK network. The map below shows the locations of the SuDS we are currently monitoring and the data we are collecting from across all our associated projects.

IData from our sensor network will soon be available to download directly from SuDSlab UK with an easy to operate dashboard, giving insight into how SuDS respond in real-time. If you are operating other SuDS sensor monitoring programmes and wish it to be added to our map, please contact the project team.

The Impact

SuDSlab UK measures its impact in Research; Innovation and Demonstration; and Education and Awareness.


We continue our research into SuDS, with engagement at conferences and through the community. We are also pleased to have received a Highly Commended award in catchment-based solutions by susdrain in 2022 for our work into research in this area.

Innovation and Demonstration

We have developed a blueprint from which others can follow to monitor SuDS. By innovating in this space and through demonstration to a range of interested parties we can share the project's learnings with a wider audience. In collaboration with the DIG Project, we have appointed a full-time dedicated Knowledge Exchange Fellow in Floods and SuDS.

Education and Awareness

SuDSlab UK supports a wide range of education provision. We incorporate new learning opportunities about sustainable drainage into our own undergraduate and postgraduate programmes such as our MSc in Flood Risk Management. We also use SuDSlab UK as a community learning tool to raise awareness of flood risk and sustainable drainage within our local region.

If you would like to arrange a tour of the University of Hull campus SuDS, email Dr Alex Osborne.


Next Steps

We are exploring partnerships that will enable the expansion of the SuDSlab UK network throughout the UK. This will enable real-time monitoring of SuDS in a wide variety of real-world settings, providing valuable data to assess the capabilities of these important tools for climate change adaptation.

The SuDSlab UK project is demonstrating ways to create more space for accessible nature in our urban environments, whilst capturing meaningful evidence for decision makers to replicate these changes elsewhere. Matthew Millington, Local Nature Partnership Development Officer, East Riding of Yorkshire Council
University of Hull project

Blue Green Lab

University of Hull partner project

DIG Project

University of Hull partner project

Living with Water