Block Paving Regulations
At present this legislation affects only new and extended installations at the front of a property adjacent to a road, e.g. if you are having a new driveway or hard-standing laid or replaced.
This includes the traditional installation of:
- Paving slabs that are cemented in place
The government have recognised that permeable paving isn’t always suitable for the site, e.g. heavy clay will not disperse water very quickly. The issue is what happens to the rainwater so an impermeable material could be laid providing rainwater is dispersed or channelled by one or any of the following methods:
- Storing it for recycling
- Releasing it immediately into the ground on site
- Providing a controlled release into existing drainage
The bottom line is that drainage needs to be SUDS compliant.
This is not a reference to the soap in your bath water but stands for Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems, it’s all about the type of paving & drainage system used to control rain water at its source rather than washing it into public drains.
What products can be used without needing permission?
There are many types of permeable hard surfaces that are suitable for driveways, which would be allowed under permitted development rights:
Gravel is the cheapest hard landscaping option and good for larger drives. The downside is the fluidity of the surface making it unsuitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs etc.
However, there are now stabilisation products available that are based on a grid system that prevents gravel from moving about. These products are great for providing a natural look whilst providing a firmer surface for wheels. It also has an inbuilt membrane that stops the gravel falling through and acts as a weed suppressant.
Gravel, or other types of aggregate, can be bonded to create a firm but porous surface, providing this is applied to a permeable base. This is a very versatile product that is becoming more popular. As the resin is clear you see the natural colour of the aggregate rather than a black tarmac based binding material.
Permeable Block Paving
Whether concrete or clay, this is similar in looks to the traditional block paving but the blocks have spacers to create wider gaps. The construction and make-up of the base materials is very different to allow water to pass through.
Permeable Macadam (or tarmac)
Believe it or not an open graded tarmac surface can be porous, and as with all surfaces this is dependant on (yes you’ve guessed it) the permeability of the base. Lighter coloured aggregates can be used in the mix for a more individual look.
This product is very similar to the gravel stabilisation product, except the cells, which can be plastic or concrete, are filled with sand / topsoil and grass seed. This solution is suitable for larger front gardens where grass is a more practical option and where the area is not permanently parked on so that the grass has sufficient light to grow.
Impermeable but SUDS compliant
It is vital that the type of surface & drainage system is suitable for the site conditions e.g. soil type, whether there is sloping ground or the level of the water table. Heavy clay soil and compacted ground is extremely slow to absorb water and would therefore result in puddling during heavy rain. In these circumstances it is better to use drainage systems that will direct and control the flow of excess water into a planted border or soakaway.
‘Greening’ our front gardens
The environmental benefits of managing water within our gardens should not be considered without the inclusion of appropriate planting. By ‘greening’ our front gardens we are providing a natural reservoir for the uptake of run-off water, much needed food and shelter for wildlife and we are improving the look of our property, therefore adding value and increasing saleability. Consider the way you feel when driving down a leafy green avenue compared to a street lined with concrete & cars.
It has to be accepted with our current lifestyles we often need off-road space for more than one car per family. However there is always room for some planting which can still be low maintenance.