Permeable paving doesn’t limit your options

Permeable paving has come very much to the fore as local authorities insist on any new driveway or hard standing surface between your property and the highway being constructed of a permeable surface.

Permeable surfaces allow rainwater to drain through rather than run off into already over-pressed road and verge drainage systems.

Non-permeable surfaces increase the risk of localised flooding and carry any driveway spills of pollutants – oil and other mechanical fluids – directly into local waterways, posing a threat to wildlife and the environment as well as making water filtration plants work harder.

However, being permeable doesn’t mean your choice of surface is greatly reduced. These days, there are a number of professionally fitted options including permeable block pavers, concrete blocks and even permeable ‘tarmac’.

Gravel and so called grass pavers (where the grass/soil is contained within a concrete cell structure) are also excellent permeable surface choices.

Some resin-bound surfaces are also permeable.

If you’re interested in saving and retaining rainwater, then permeable driveway construction can still include traps to feed into your water storage tanks. If you don’t want a permeable surface, then drainage and disposal of surface water will be key elements – especially as you’ll need planning permission for a non-permeable surface.

SInce 2008, rules have been in force regarding permeable surfaces. Even if you’re replacing an existing area of driveway or hard standing (like a patio), you’ll need to use a permeable solution.

Latest guidelines suggest any non permeable hard surface area over 5sq metres will require planning permission – something your preferred paving contractor should be able to help you with quite easily. Permeable surfaces allowing rainwater to drain through naturally will not normally require planning permission but if in doubt, check with your preferred driveway/paving contractor or local planning authority for guidance before starting.

Failure to adhere to planning regulations could come back to haunt you in the future – especially if you come to sell the property.

It’s worth noting that Scotland and Wales may have their own regulations – the planning regulations referred to in our article applying to England only. As far as we are aware, the regulations in England only apply to driveways or other hard standing areas on the front of your property or land between the house and the public highway.

Don’t forget, you can get an instant online driveway, patio or path quote from Paving Quoter – salesman free quotes.

This article first appeared on our weekly homeowner newsletter dated 16h May 2011. Click here to read the full newsletter.

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