Paving suppliers Marshalls re-created the effects of a once-in-a-100-years storm to highlight the need for more permeable drainage solutions to be used in domestic driveways.
They poured 2,500 litres of water – an amount calculated using Met Office data – over an area divided into five: one paved with their Tegula Priora permeable solution, one with Priora permeable solution, one with standard concrete block paving, one with concrete and one with Marshall’s Grassguard permeable product.
After only a few minutes the concrete and concrete block paving areas were an inch thick in water, the others had let most of the water sink through back into the water table.
The demonstration came the day that Housing Minister Caroline Flint announced changes to planning permission regulations regarding driveways and parking areas in domestic situations.
From October 1 most homeowners won’t need to get planning permission for paving over their front gardens to build a driveway, as long as they use permeable surfaces.
“We’re still awaiting absolute confirmation of the finer points of the regulations,” said Marshalls group marketing director Chris Harrop. In the meantime, the company are training up installers on the Marshalls Register so that they know how to install the company’s new permeable paving solutions and SUDS (sustainable drainage solution) products, and also in which cases permeable solutions are suitable and which they aren’t.
“You can’t use permeable products in every instance,” Harrop continued. “If the soil conditions aren’t right, for example, or if the property is below the water table. In those cases, the householder will require planning permission to use a non-permeable solution with suitable drainage. However, we are hoping that this will be a simple procedure since there will be evidence provided by our installers that permeable is not suitable in that situation.”
It is not clear yet who will need to apply for planning permission – the householder or the installer, nor how the new regulations will be policed.
However, the regulations are very welcome, said domestic PR manager Jeremy Swallow since “the floods of last year, and again this year, show just how important it is to decrease the amount of surface water running to drains by using sustainable drainage systems and increase the amount of water allowed to drain into surrounding ground.”