Paving over will require planning permission

Government responds to flooding concern by seeking to reduce pressure on urban drainage from runoff

frontgarden with impermeable paving
frontgarden with impermeable paving

Householders wanting to lay impermeable driveways over their front gardens will need to seek planning permission from 1 October, in a move aimed at reducing the risk of flooding.

According to Guidance on the permeable surfacing of front gardens, a document from Communities & Local Government and the Environment Agency: "Planning permission is now required to lay traditional impermeable driveways that allow uncontrolled runoff of rainwater from front gardens onto roads, because this can contribute to flooding and pollution of watercourses."

Permeable surfaces such as permeable concrete block paving, porous asphalt or gravel, and other designs allowing for local soakaway, are excluded, as are areas under 5 sq m. But replacement of existing hard standing will require permission.

Chelsea Flower Show sponsor Marshalls, which quarries and sells paving, said it supported the move, adding that some drives still must have non-permeable surfaces.

Group marketing director Chris Harrop said: “The introduction of permeable paving to domestic front gardens is a very important development in the battle against extreme weather conditions driven by climate change. Marshalls are fully supportive of the move towards the use permeable paving and have an extensive range of products available.

“However we are pleased to see that the Government has recognised that permeable paving is not suitable for all driveways for example those that slope towards the house or for all areas of the country, due to the differing nature of the UK’s ground conditions, especially those with very heavy clay or where the land lies below the water table.”

Meanwhile, Marshalls says all its 503 domestic landscaping products will be labelled to show how much carbon dioxide they use in manufacture and distribution.

  • Guidance on the permeable surfacing of front gardens can be downloaded in pdf format here

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