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Professor Susanne Charlesworth : Sustainable Drainage

  Sue is a Reader in Urban Physical Geography at Coventry University and director of its Sustainable Drainage Applied Research Group (SUDS ARG) which was set up in October 2006 to undertake research and consultancy primarily in Sustainable Drainage, but also urban geochemistry to include sediment fingerprinting, tracing and microbiology. Sue's research interests over the last 25 years include urban physical geography, urban hydrology and sustainable drainage. Her more recent research has focused on the impact of urbanisation on the physical environment, and its mitigation by sustainable means. 
The SUDS ARG has also carried out commercial and consultancy projects for companies including Tarmac, Bostik, Formpave, Addagrip and STRI. The Group also conducted a study for W&RAP to investigate the usefulness of incorporating green and food-based compost into SUDS devices, concentrating on swales.

Sue collaborates with groups worldwide, including Spain, Brazil and Africa. Investigations with colleagues from Spain have included risk assessments of mining spoil heaps, the bioaccessibility of metals in playground dusts and street dusts and the metal content of urban river sediments. She also liaises with Coventry City Council and has advised on the use of SUDS devices for Climate Change mitigation and adaptation, as well as flood reduction and water quality improvements.

To efficiently deal with surface water, Sustainable Drainage encourages source control at the building scale. This includes rainwater harvesting, green roofs and walls and installing porous paving (PPS). However, these devices have multiple benefits, and post graduate students have studied the uptake of metals by grasses in simulated swales; the long term performance of a combined PPS with Ground Source Heat in the Hanson EcoHouse, BRE, Watford; the development of a decision-making tool for local authorities; the fate of glyphosate-containing herbicides in PPS; community engagement in informal SUDS in informal settlements in Africa etc.

Sue has edited books on the sedimentology of aqueous systems, water resources and SUDS, she has also published more than 50 journal articles, 20 book chapters and attended many international conferences and industry exhibitions. She teaches at undergraduate level, on the BSc Geography Degree at Coventry University, ensuring that every student has heard about SUDS and water efficiency throughout their degree!

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