Do You Need Planning Permission For Your New Driveway?

23 March 2017

Almost ten years ago, a law was introduced concerning planning permission for new driveways, and when you do or don’t need it. The regulations cover everything from the size of the area you wish to turn into a driveway to the types of paving you can use.

Large block paved drive by AWBS Landscaping featuring grey Brett Lugano paving

While the ins and outs of the regulations may appear complicated, they really aren’t. And, if you’re thinking of putting in a new driveway now or in the future, it’s well worth familiarising yourself with them.

AWBS Landscaping Manager and driveways expert, Brian Proffitt, has extensive knowledge on the subject of planning permission for new driveways. Here he talks about the reasoning behind the regulations and how to decide upon the right materials for your project.

Why do I need planning permission for driveways?

“You might not. In a nutshell, anyone wanting to pave a front garden of over five square metres needs to get permission to do so. But, if you’re using permeable pavers or other such permeable material then you don’t,” Brian explains.

New driveway in Oxford featuring Brett Silver Haze block paving by AWBS

The fundamental reason the legislation was introduced is because of the vast increase in the amount of water that goes into storm drains when it rains. “With so many front gardens being converted into driveways in urban areas, there’s been a large increase in flooding as the storm drains struggle to cope”, says Brian. “It’s worth remembering that many of the country’s drainage systems were never designed to cope with that much water. In fact, some are over 100 years old! This makes flooding inevitable.”

While one or two new driveways wont really have that much of an impact on water levels, the thousands of households that are favouring parking over a front garden will.

The potential environmental damage

Impermeable surfaces can have a significantly detrimental effect on the environment.  “In modern society we’re using an ever-increasing number of vehicles and machines, all of which create pollutants,” says Brian. “Run-off water carries these pollutants into our sewers and natural watercourses, where they can cause considerable damage to treatment plants and devastate flora and fauna in ditches, as well as aquatic life in rivers and streams.”

Permeable pavers offer a host of environmental advantages, including natural breakdown of pollutants, replenishment of aquifers and the increased possibility of water harvesting.

Using permeable pavers and other materials

Brett Alpha Flow permeable block paving for driveways

As already mentioned, if you’re using permeable materials (those that allow water to pass through and gradually seep into the road drainage system), you don’t need planning permission for driveways. These materials include permeable block paving, gravel, porous concrete and asphalt.

“Quite often there is confusion between permeable pavers and what’s known as ‘Suds-compliant’ paving,” Brian highlights. “Whereas permeable materials allow the water to pass through the surface, ‘Suds-compliant’ paving channels, collects and disposes of the water. This is why it’s important to get professional advice when choosing your material, so you know whether you’ll need planning permission for your driveway.”

Permeable pavers and gravel from AWBS Building and Landscaping Supplies

AWBS Building and Landscaping Supplies offers a great selection of permeable surfaces that are suitable for driveways. The extensive range of gravel comes in an array of fabulous colours, shapes and sizes – from deep and contemporary tones of Black Granite, to the warm buff and orange of Gold Flint.

Large gravel driveway and landscaping by AWBS in Oxford

“As a highly versatile material, you can use gravel to create stunning effects, enjoy the durable qualities, and eliminate the need to get planning permission for a new driveway,” Brian says.

The Brett Flow permeable block paving offers a stylish option for any new driveway. The excellent ‘source control’ of these permeable pavers is designed to deal with water run-off as close to the source as possible. Water can quickly pass through the blocks and into the sub-base below, rather than causing surface water run-off, as non-permeable pavers would do, which leads to flooding. In a range of styles to suit any type of property, these pavers are an ideal choice for all projects.

Brian Proffitt has been AWBS Landscaping Manager for ten years. With a background in the building trade, he has over 30 years of experience in construction and landscaping.

To find out more about planning permission for new driveways or to talk to our expert team about any landscaping project, please contact us.

Contact us for a free landscaping, fencing or driveway quote. We’re always happy to listen to your ideas and offer friendly advice and a personal service. If you’d like us to help turn your dream project into a reality, get in touch with us today and arrange a free, no-obligation survey and estimate.