Permeable Solutions for Driveways

There is a certain amount of confusion regarding the relatively recent changes in rules and regulations concerning paving the front of your home. Here, we look at answering some of your questions.

What are the changes to planning laws?

From 1 October 2008 new rules and regulations were introduced for householders wanting to hard landscape their front gardens. If the surface to be covered is more than five square metres, you will need planning permission for laying traditional, impermeable driveways that do not control rainwater running off onto roads. This will apply to new driveways, drive extensions or drive replacements.

You will NOT need planning permission if the surface to be covered is less than five square metres or if the new surface is permeable or porous or if a traditional surface is laid and the rainwater is directed to a lawn or border to drain naturally or if it is directed to a soakaway via a drainage channel. An estimated 70% of existing driveways already drain in a sustainable way.

What about existing drives and products?

No retrospective planning consent is needed for existing driveways and hard surfaces.

What solutions are there which avoid the need for planning permission?

A wide range of solutions are available, in five main groups:

  • Permeable paving
  • Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS) or Rainwater Harvesting Systems (RWH)
  • Porous asphalt
  • Gravel or a mainly green, vegetated area, such as wheel tracks in traditional materials with a surrounding permeable area
  • Traditional hard surfaces with controlled run-off to your garden or lawn or to a purpose-built rain garden or soakaway