Regulations

Planning Permission

The Government has outlined the following:

“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.”

Source: Guidance on permeable surfacing of a front garden Communities and Local Government and Environment Agency

From 1st October 2008, a submission for Planning Permission may be required for impermeable surfaces like Tarmac, Concrete, and Block Paving. The purpose of this new regulation is to prevent stormwater drains, and eventually the rivers, from being unnecessarily overfilled during periods of heavy rainfall due to overdevelopment. Planning permission is now required to lay traditional impermeable driveways that allow uncontrolled runoff of rainwater from the front gardens onto the road because this can contribute to flooding and polution of watercourses

If a new driveway or parking area is constructed using permeable surfaces such as permeable block paving, porous asphalt or gravel or if the water is able to soak into the ground via soil borders or a soakaway you will not require planning permission.

These new planning rules also apply to where existing hardstanding are being replaced and apply to hard surfaces exceeding 5 square metres in area

Applying for planning permission will require you to fill in an application form, draw plans which have to be to scale and pay a fee of £150. Planning applications for this type of development should normally be decided within 8 weeks after submisson

The Reason

  • More and more householders are laying hard surfaces over front gardens to provide off-road parking. At present there are no restrictions on a householder’s ability to do so.
  • Hard surfaces lead to accelerated run-off of surface water which can overload sewerage systems in more urban areas. This problem is likely to intensify as climate change produces more torrential downpours.
  • The Government intends, therefore, to require that paving installed using permitted development rights does not make this problem worse.
  • In future paving in front gardens wll not be permitted development rights unless the surface allows the water to drain away naturally.
  • This can be achieved in a number of ways – most simply by ensuring that water runs off to an unpaved area such as a garden border.