There are a lot of perks to replacing your front garden with a driveway. It provides off-road parking and a safer environment to leave your car, which in turn can reduce your insurance premiums. In some cases, it can even add value to your property, which is ideal if you have plans to move on further down the line.
On the other hand, the growing popularity of driveways has created a cause for concern amongst environment officials, which has led to the introduction of new regulations and a driveway legislation since 2008.
If you’re planning on investing in a driveway for your own home, you will need to ensure that your plans meet the requirements of the driveway legislation. Read on for information on the legislation, so that you can progress your plans with peace of mind that you are adhering to the regulations.
REGULATIONS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN PLANNING YOUR DRIVEWAY
We’ve highlighted the details within the legislation, to make the process of introducing a driveway to your own home as simple and stress-free as possible.
When you will need to seek planning permission
If you are looking to cover a front garden with watertight material on an area of over 5 square metres, you will need to seek planning permission beforehand. This also applies if the design of your driveway cannot control the rainwater from running into the road and drainage systems.
How can you avoid having to apply for planning permission?
If the area for your driveway is less than 5 square metres then you won’t need to apply for planning permission.
For larger areas, you can consider a number of porous materials that will allow much of the rainwater to soak into it, rather than the majority of it running into the road. Consider the following porous surfaces for your own driveway:
Each of these materials absorb water into the ground beneath them, all whilst delivering a hard surface that’s perfect for a driveway. Be sure to install a driveway sub-base underneath them, for efficient water absorption.
If your driveway has a slight slope that allows for rainwater to naturally run into a lawn space or border, that should be acceptable for a natural drainage system. For those with a larger space, a soakaway can be built into the ground that allows rainwater to naturally soak into the ground. It’s recommended that you have at least 5m distance from the soakaway to the external walls of your house, to be able to install a soakaway.
There’s also the option of reusing rainwater, through the process of rainwater harvesting. A system is installed, designed to collect rainwater from your driveway and roof. The water is filtered so that any debris is removed, then it is stored in a tank ready for you to use.
This water is perfect for washing cars, watering plants and the lawn in your back garden, for example. Rainwater harvesting can also save you money on your water bills, as well as lessening the need for planning permission!
Considerations when installing your driveway
Once you’ve either received planning permission, or are satisfied with the materials and design of your driveway, you can then begin to install it. We’ve highlighted a few further considerations to make before beginning, to ensure complete satisfaction with your new driveway.
When possible you should try to make sure the driveway slopes away from the house and towards the road. Keep borders and gardens designed to collect rainwater at the end of the driveway, away from the home. These two factors will reduce the amount of rainwater approaching the house itself.
However if your property is situated on land with a downwards slope towards the house, ensure there is a drainage channel that can collect the water and send it to the same drain that takes the water from the roof.
Double check there aren’t any pipes or cables situated under where you are about to lay your driveway, in case they need to be accessed at a later date.
Make sure the soil underneath is gravelly rather than clay-like. If it’s more clay textured then you will need to rethink your drainage system.
With careful consideration to the above, along with precise planning before installing your driveway, you’ll be left with a brand new area to your property that will last for many years.
WHAT PROBLEMS SPARKED THE INTRODUCTION OF THE DRIVEWAY LEGISLATION?
The first cause for concern with driveways is the amount of water that runs off them during bad weather. By replacing a grassy, absorbent front garden with a hard surfaced driveway, the amount of water that runs into the drain system increases. Many drainage systems haven’t been designed to withstand the amount of water entering them, which in severe weather, can cause flooding.
There’s also worries that the firm driveway surfaces are taking in a lot of daytime heat, only to release it into the environment in the evening. The worry is that this could be contributing to an increase in cloud coverage across the country which brings stormy weather with it.
The final issue with driveways from an environmental perspective is that the habitat for local wildlife is being reduced.