The Dunfermline Eastern Expansion (DEX) is a 350 ha mixed development which commenced in 1996. Downstream water quality and flooding issues necessitated a holistic approach to drainage planning and the site has become a European showcase for the application of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS). However, there is minimal data available regarding the real costs of operating and maintaining SUDS to ensure they continue to perform as per their design function. This remains one of the primary barriers to the uptake and adoption of SUDS. This paper reports on what is understood to be the only study in the UK where actual costs of constructing and maintaining SUDS have been compared to an equivalent traditional drainage solution. To compare SUDS costs with traditional drainage, capital and maintenance costs of underground storage chambers of analogous storage volumes were estimated. A whole life costing methodology was then applied to data gathered. The main objective was to produce a reliable and robust cost comparison between SUDS and traditional drainage.

The cost analysis is supportive of SUDS and indicates that well designed and maintained SUDS are more cost effective to construct, and cost less to maintain than traditional drainage solutions which are unable to meet the environmental requirements of current legislation.