Paving the way for fewer floods
New planning rules for paving front gardens designed to reduce flood risk have come into effect.
Two-thirds of the homes flooded in summer 2007 were affected by surface water run-off rather than river water and more than £3 billion worth of damage was caused.
Now the government has introduced changes to national planning rules to reduce flood risk from heavy rainfall.
Hard surfaces, such as tarmac, prevent heavy rain from sinking into the ground. This can quickly lead to drains overflowing and cause local flooding.
Permeable surfaces allow rain water to soak into the ground slowly, therefore reducing flood risk. These include porous asphalt, gravel, concrete block paving with gaps, wheel track only paving or 'soak-away' systems.
To encourage people to use these surfaces if altering front gardens – permeable driveways or parking areas over five square metres do not require planning permission.
But impermeable surfaces such as asphalt, measuring more than five square metres, will need permission.
The new rules only apply to front gardens. Permission is not needed elsewhere around homes unless they are listed buildings or in a conservation area, in which case different rules may apply.
All professional paving contractors should be able to advise you on these issues.
The soil in most of Norwich is of a type which allows water to soak into the ground easily. In these areas – shown as yellow and green on the map (see link below) – permeable surfaces are more appropriate. Norwich City Council is not likely to grant planning permission for impermeable surfaces in these areas.
In those areas shown in red on the map, a different type of soil means rain water will not soak easily into the ground and it is more likely we would grant permission for impermeable paving in these areas.
Click here for the drainage map
The following advice note summarises how the changes affect Norwich: advice note.
Vehicular access to a road
You will need permission from the council for any physical works to the highway including dropped kerbs, alterations to the footway and verges etc. and planning permission for access to a classified road. For more information, go to the vehicle access web page.
Guidance on the permeable surfacing of front gardens
You can view the guidance on the Communities and Local Government website.
If you have any queries or would like further information please email email@example.com or call 01603 212217.