Sustainable Urban Drainage – New Legislation and What Does It Mean?

Don’t let legislation go with you!

Sustainable Urban Drainage (SUDS)

SUDS or Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems are a range of sustainable drainage solutions aimed at reducing flood and waterway pollution by controlling the flow of rainwater from front gardens.

Increasingly, homeowners and self-builders are using invincible solutions for driveways and front gardens. Because water does not get wet through impregnable driveways, the water usually flows down drains, wet areas or, in some cases, public highways.


Modern permeable surfaces reduce the flow of water into drains by allowing water to run down through the surface into the ground. This reduces the chances of drain overflow.


This means that the water rises from the surface and goes straight into the drains. It also reduces the amount of water reaching our natural groundwater reserves.

Where the uncontrolled flow of rain from the front gardens leads to the road, the drainage system can come under pressure during heavy, continuous rains. This is contributing to the dramatic flood that we have seen so late and that is why new legislation has been enacted.

Since October 2008, homeowners are now allowed to plan when using perpetual materials such as concrete, asphalt or non-permeable pavement (unless a proper drainage ditch, rain garden or drainage system is used). need to;

o Level 5m² or more over the front garden area.
o Replace existing rigid driveways over 5m².

Getting a plan permit will cost about £ 150 and will take about 8 weeks to process. Alternatively, homeowners will not need to consider obtaining a planning permit if they want to install permeable solutions, such as in flat or gravel / green vegetation areas.

3 solutions are available:

1. Use a new ‘Permeable’ option.

Permeable solutions allow water to flow naturally into the subsoil from which it can flow safely. To help homeowners comply with legislation, most paving providers will now provide a range of permeable paving.

2. Use the traditional ‘invincible’ option.

Homeowners can still use impregnable solutions but must ensure that the water flows toward the rain garden or the area is drained using channel drainage. It may be possible to use channels and linear drainage to supply water directly to the drains, which in some places take the roof water with the agreement of the local authority and water companies.

3. Use gravel or a predominantly green, vegetated area.

Loose gravel or wheel tracks can be an attractive option for parking cars. Alternatively, the wheel tracks can be presented with blocks, asphalt or concrete. Gravel with different shapes and colors is available to make the surface more decorative. The use of grid or block paving or asphalt strip at the entrance can limit the loss and spread of gravel from the drive.

Front garden areas can be designed using invincible or permeable landscaping, however, good garden design and environmental issues must be considered to meet legislative requirements. However, many planning officials will expect planning requests to show how a more sustainable approach to drainage is to be incorporated into development proposals and plans, and to provide detailed design information at appropriate stages. To be submitted

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