If you live in England you may need planning permission for paving your garden. This applies to anybody considering having part of your garden or an extension to your driveway paved. This includes paving slabs, block pavers, concrete, asphalt or any other non-porous surface.
You may have to get planning permission first from your local council before you install a surface that drains water into existing drains. This also includes draining water onto highways.
We look at why you need planning permission? And how can you lay paving without the need for planning permission?
Why Do I Need Planning Permission for Paving My Garden or Driveway?
The law was changed after the big floods around the UK in 2007. It was considered that water run off from driveways, patios and commercial paved areas were a big contributing factors to the floods. So the Government took action to make it illegal to pave an area of more than 5 square meters without consideration of where the water would drain to. The rules on paving a garden area took effect from the 1st October 2008.
The Government review of planning policy covered planning permission for paving the outside areas of a house or place of work, including back gardens and drives. It said that paving over your garden or green area contributes to flooding to a cost of over £270 million a year in the UK and reduces valuable wildlife habitat. Traditional hard surfaces collect water and channel it into local drains and streams. These are becoming overloaded, especially during short bursts of heavy rain, increasing the risk of local flooding.
So what can to be done? How do you lay paving in your garden legally?
The new planning permission for paving a green area does not apply to existing paved or hard-surfaced areas. The law only applies if you are adding new paving or creating an additional paved area. It applies to new paving that drains water to existing drains. This could be an extension to an existing driveway or creating a larger or new patio.
What does the law say?
The law says that if you want to lay any new type of paving in your garden, patio or driveway that surface water needs to be allowed to drain naturally into the ground. This applies to any paving over 5 square meters in total area.
This can be achieved through the use of permeable paving (paving that allows the water to run through it, into the ground below). Or by directing the run-off water to drain to a garden border or loose chippings. You could simply have your paving slabs laid with gaps between the slabs. This will allow water to drain into the soil below.
You should not need planning permission to lay paving in your garden or driveway as long as any surface water is not directed to existing drains. You are not allowed to direct water to run off onto any public pavement or highway.
Who is affected by the guidelines in the UK?
The guidelines for paving over your garden only apply to residents and house holders in England. Scotland and Wales will have their own policies governing planning permission for new hard surfacing a garden or driveway.
It’s worth reading local policies of your local planning authority before you begin to lay paving in any garden area. This could include extensions to existing driveways or the creation of patio areas in a garden. If you choose permeable paving or lay paving in such a way that surface water runs away & soaks in to the ground then you should not need planning permission. If you choose the wrong type of paving and the water drains into existing drains then you may find yourself having to redo the work. This could end up being very costly paving project.
Get more information from the government website
If you would like to know more information on the need for planning permission for paving your garden or driveway you can read about it on the new Government website on planning permission for a driveway or patio at the Government planning portal here