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Does a new Driveway need Planning Permission?

Published on 17th Jan 2014.

Does a new Driveway need Planning Permission?

This is a common area of confusion for members of the public.

 Readypave Limited is able to install virtually all Driveways to comply with Environment Agency Planning Legislation without the need for Planning Permission.

 If the Driveway requires the making of a new entrance from the carriageway, then Planning Permission should be obtained from the local authority. If the existing entrance is to be utilised, as long as certain criteria are achieved. then Planning Permission is not necessary.

 In October 2008 planning legislation was passed with an aim to help control the increased incidences of flooding experienced when we get a high volume rainfall. With more and more homes and roads being built, together with the accompanying hard paving associated with these developments, the drainage systems (pipe work), streams and rivers can not clear the sudden influx of water quickly enough. This resulted in areas being flooded regularly and not just obvious places such as Shrewsbury and Stone, which lie beside the rivers Severn and Trent, but higher ground areas such as Kidsgrove, in Stoke on Trent, and Stafford that were flooded due to the pipe system being overwhelmed. 

 The solution was that the rainwater surface drainage for all new hard paved parking areas (driveways and car parks) should be directed to soak away into the ground and so gradually filter into the natural water courses. 

 This legislation only applies to England and Wales (not Scotland where the population densities are less) however it is an approach that can have benefits to maintaining ground water levels to compensate for periods of drought in all areas.

 The obvious method of achieving the required drainage method is to install a type of ‘porous paving’. This means using either gravel, block paving that has larger gaps between the bricks or a tarmac that has larger gaps between the stones (ordinary block paving or tarmac are not sufficiently porous to comply). These need to be laid onto a special, granular, sub-base that allows the water to pass through it. Closely graded sand and hardcore that is normally used does not allow for the free movement of water over time. The porous type paving surfaces have a very great draw back in that the gaps within them gather dirt and debris and then are subject to an ongoing problem of moss and weed growth. This makes the paving less porous than designed, as well as being unsightly and dangerous for users, so requiring frequent maintenance.  

 This legislation would seem at first to be a disaster for a company such as ourselves at Readypave which specialises on the installation of low maintenance, solid Concrete Driveways and parking areas!  The legislation does not stipulate that the paving should allow the water to pass through it but just that the surface water is contained on the property.  It can be directed into the ground via either the soil around the paving or through the use of surface drainage (gullies or linear channels etc) and then into specially created soakaways. 

 When Readypave are designing a new or replacement Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveway we evaluate the options for the drainage so that the aesthetics and practicalities of the area are not compromised and the legislation is adhered to.  We also aim to approach the construction to ‘future proof’ the area so that it can cope with high level rainfall, minimise surface run off from adjacent areas and that if soakaways or drains cannot cope with the flow of water, then it is directed to an area away from garages or buildings. 

 Our approach means that the new Readypave Imprinted Concrete Paving will comply with the law as well as gaining the benefits associated with maintaining the property's ground water levels.