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Sloping Driveway: Do I Need Surface Drainage and Permission?

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 5 Aug 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Soakaway Driveways Planning Permission

Q.

I have a sloping driveway to the road edge. Do I need surface drainage and planning permission?

(R.P, 13 July 2009)

A.

Paving over front gardens to provide car parking has been an emotive subject for some time and because of this, laws were introduced in October 2008 in England to try to control the issue.

New Front Garden Driveway Regulations in England

There aren't any specific regulations controlling soakaways, and there's no rule that says you must have one. But there is a rule to say that you need planning permission, and when you apply for Planning Permission the planners will want to make sure that you deal with the drainage from the driveway. This might mean putting in a Soakaway, but it might not.

One of the things that planners will probably insist on, under the new regulations, is that the driveway will be made from a semi-permeable or permeable material. These will allow rainwater to run though rather than sitting on the top of the driveway and run into the road drainage system.

One of the main reasons for the new legislation is that the conversion of gardens to driveways in urban areas has increased the amount of water that goes into the storm drains when it rains, and this has contributed to the increase in flooding.

Soakaway not Necessarily Essential

If your slope is not too steep and you have garden either side (so there's earth the water can drain away into), then the permeable driveway surface might be enough. If it isn't, you don't necessarily need a soakaway at the bottom by the road. You might be able to get enough drainage in by putting some drainage channels either side of the drive. It's difficult to tell without knowing the steepness of the slopes involved and the direction of the slope with respect to the garden and the road (see Calculating The Fall On Your Driveway).

Of course, you say that you have a driveway at the moment, not that you are about to put one in. If you are in England and the driveway was put in before October 2008, then technically you don’t need to apply for planning permission and you don't need a soakaway either.

Consider a Soakaway Anyway

However, if your driveway does send a lot of rainwater into the road, it might be worth considering a soakaway or other drainage anyway, since it will be better for the environment.

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[Add a Comment]
dpg - Your Question:
I currently have a concrete drive with no drainage - rainwater just runs onto the public road. I'm looking at replacing this with block paving and I'd prefer to do this without obtaining planning permission. I understand that I need to manage rainwater. My question is: if I decide to go with non-permeable paving and a linear drain between the drive and the public pavement where should I put the water? It appears that the rules for soakaways say that they should be 5m away from a building and the public highway. My house is roughly 6m from the highway so there is no room for a legally-compliant soakaway. How do people normally deal with this? I see many drives in my neighbourhood with linear drains at the boundary with the road - how have they dealt with the water without a soakaway? Or do you think they have all obtained planning permission and the building control officer has allowed an exception for a soakaway closer than 5m to the highway?

Our Response:
How do you know where your neighbour's linear drains connect? It could be that the water is directed the main surface water sewer, a specific watercourse or, as you say, a soakaway. They may have been installed before the rules on driveway drainage were changed. Talk to your local highways department for advice.
DrivewayExpert - 7-Aug-18 @ 11:06 AM
I currently have a concrete drive with no drainage - rainwater just runs onto the public road. I'm looking at replacing this with block paving and I'd prefer to do this without obtaining planning permission. I understand that I need to manage rainwater. My question is: if I decide to go with non-permeable paving and a linear drain between the drive and the public pavement where should I put the water? It appears that the rules for soakaways say that they should be 5m away from a building and the public highway. My house is roughly 6m from the highway so there is no room for a legally-compliant soakaway. How do people normally deal with this? I see many drives in my neighbourhood with linear drains at the boundary with the road - how have they dealt with the water without a soakaway? Or do you think they have all obtained planning permission and the building control officer has allowed an exception for a soakaway closer than 5m to the highway?
dpg - 5-Aug-18 @ 11:26 AM
Pete - Your Question:
Hi.Just bought a new build property and my double driveway is quite steep and funds down to the pavement and road. They haven't built a soakawy or drain channel. Yet on others on the estate they have. Could you advise?

Our Response:
Talk to the build and your local building control officer. If one's needed or should have been installed, the building control officer will be able to help you get the builder to do it. If the driveway drains directly onto the highway it will have required planning permission to do so.
DrivewayExpert - 25-Jul-18 @ 1:52 PM
Hi. Just bought a new build property and my double driveway is quite steep and funds down to the pavement and road. They haven't built a soakawy or drain channel. Yet on others on the estate they have. Could you advise?
Pete - 22-Jul-18 @ 8:51 PM
Hi Driveway expert, I came across your website which I find very useful, thanks! I have a question, which I'm not sure this is the best place to ask it, but I havent figured out how to open a new post... Here the question: We would like to build a driveway in our front garden. However, the front of our house faces a classified (30mph) road. There is also a slight bent higher in the road. It feels quite safe though to have a driveway there. Not sure how to proceed for planning permission in order to increase the chances of getting through. What would you recommend? Are there experts which can help in the process of designing and getting permissions? Thanks in advance. Best wishes, John
John - 14-Jun-18 @ 3:38 PM
Vn82 - Your Question:
Hi, we have lived at my current address for 10 years. Approx 5 years ago my neighbour had a new driveway put down. We live in a terraced house and on a hill, our house is slightly higher than his. When the old driveway was removed, the new one put in was put higher than the old one. This has resulted in rainwater from houses higher up in the street collecting in our driveway and not able to continue down the hill. It floods our driveway-water going through our air blocks and tripping out our electrics on certain occasions. Can our neighbour ask the contractor to rectify the problem??

Our Response:
This would really depend on the job specification agreed between your neighbour on their contractor. You can however, take action against your neighbour via the courts.
DrivewayExpert - 29-May-18 @ 3:13 PM
Hi, we have lived at my current address for 10 years. Approx 5 years ago my neighbour had a new driveway put down. We live in a terraced house and on a hill, our house is slightly higher than his. When the old driveway was removed, the new one put in was put higher than the old one. This has resulted in rainwater from houses higher up in the street collecting in our driveway and not able to continue down the hill. It floods our driveway-water going through our air blocks and tripping out our electrics on certain occasions. Can our neighbour ask the contractor to rectify the problem??
Vn82 - 28-May-18 @ 9:10 PM
Eller - Your Question:
Since my neighbour had a resin driveway which slopes towards my property water is collecting against the side of my houseWhat can I do?

Our Response:
Talk to the neighbour, ask them if they can do something about their driveway water run off. Where did the water drain to before they had their drive done? Have they covered a drain? Not allowed sufficient slope? If you can't agree, try a mediation service. If that fails, a civil action in the courts might be necessary.
DrivewayExpert - 20-Mar-18 @ 11:46 AM
Since my neighbour had a resin driveway which slopes towards my property water is collecting against the side of my house What can I do?
Eller - 18-Mar-18 @ 11:58 AM
Bill - Your Question:
My driveway which slopes down to the footpath/road is constructed of concrete slabs, unfortunately many are cracked or broken. The drive is in excess of five metres in area and I want to replace it over the same area with asphalt. Do I require planning permission and is there likely to be restrictions.

Our Response:
Check with your planning department. Usually if you are paving over 5m² you may need planning permission if you are not using permeable materials, or you do not have adequate drainage for impermeable material use.
DrivewayExpert - 2-Oct-17 @ 1:57 PM
My driveway which slopes down to the footpath/road is constructed of concrete slabs, unfortunately many are cracked or broken.The drive is in excess of five metres in area and I want to replace it over the same area with asphalt. Do I require planning permission and is there likelyto be restrictions.
Bill - 29-Sep-17 @ 12:46 PM
We have a sloping drive with a garage at the bottom. If I have a gravel drive on top of sand and membrane do I need an aco drain
usmcgs - 23-Dec-16 @ 8:37 AM
We have a shared gravel driveway. It often gets weedy and the amount of stone is variable across the area and in places looks very thin. I'm thinking of adding extra gravel to those areas as there are good curb stones around the whole area to hold it in place. However the biggest issue is an area which does not drain well. This becomes a large deep puddle in heavy rain, that takes some time to clear. Can you advise me on what I should do to rectify this, please? Spike it perhaps and add more stone?
Hun - 29-Sep-16 @ 11:01 AM
I am currently installing a drive way onto what used to be our front garden. I have excavated 6 inches and want to slope the drive of onto the new drop curb that has been put down. As I want to concrete over the dirt (after putting down hardcore and firming it down) I will have no natural drainage just water running into the street. We do not get particularly heavy rain fall, but is there another option I should/can consider?? Thanks
Brooksy - 11-Aug-16 @ 2:56 PM
We're having a block paved driveway put in, the length of the house and existing drive, fhen half the front lawn to be block paved too. We have a sloping driveway to the cul de sac in front. The guy that came out to price it told us we do not need planning nor do we need drainage. After reading this article, what should i insist on?
Nirobob - 17-Jun-16 @ 3:21 PM
Iv'e had my drive replaced with new concrete. It consists of four bays with block edging and dividers. The builder did not fit a membrane as per estimate as he said he excavated to a depth of 450mm so itdid not require one. The bays are 4 metres wide x 2.5 metres long and he has tamped the concrete long ways instead of width ways. Is this correct
bluesman - 7-Jun-16 @ 4:02 PM
CC - Your Question:
We looing at installing a concrete driveway on a steeply sloping access to a concrete parking terrace. What finish would you recommend for this as we do not think a resin bonded gravel would be up to the wear and tear of the slope. Would you have any tips or ideas for a textured finish to the concrete?

Our Response:
You can try roughing it up with an implement like a stiff brush etc, to create a rougher, less slippery surface. You can mixing a gritty material into the final sealer coat. Do our readers have any experience of this? Do let us know.
DrivewayExpert - 19-Aug-15 @ 10:58 AM
We looking at installing a concrete driveway on a steeply sloping access to a concrete parking terrace. What finish would you recommend for this as we do not think a resin bonded gravel would be up to the wear and tear of the slope. Would you have any tips or ideas for a textured finish to the concrete?
CC - 18-Aug-15 @ 10:56 AM
Is there any legal limit to the steepness of a new driveway ?
Rob - 1-Aug-15 @ 7:49 PM
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