Update 2022: We reviewed this guide to driveway planning permission in 2022 and have checked that the information is still correct, please follow the links to the relevant official pages if you need more information.
Driveway Legislation in the UK
Since 2008, anyone wanting to replace or install a driveway, patio or similar in a front garden needs to apply for planning permission unless:
- It’s less than five square metres in size or
- The material is permeable or
- The materials are laid so rainwater discharges onto a lawn or flower bed for natural drainage or
- You have installed a working soakaway and drainage channel
If you cannot meet at least one of the above criteria, you will need to apply for planning permission.
The legislation was created to prevent flash floods caused by excessive paving and inadequate natural drainage in many front gardens.
Note: You do not need to apply for respective planning permission if the driveway was constructed before 2008.
What This Means For You
The regulations mean that anyone laying or replacing a driveway must ensure that surface rainwater doesn’t flow onto public footpaths or roads.
You might be able to drain the water into a flowerbed or grass lawn or you may need to collect the water via a channel and divert it to an existing soakaway or you may need to install a new soakaway.
Most homes in the UK will have an existing garden soakaway but whether it can cope with the extra load will depend on the size of the driveway and how much water enters the soakaway.
What About the Rear Garden?
The legislation applies to any potential run-off of water from a new driveway, patio or similar. However, as most driveways are in the front garden, this typically only applies to front gardens.
Patios are often found in rear gardens but rarely do they discharge rainwater directly onto a footpath or highway.
Dropping a Kerb
If you don’t currently have a driveway, you’ll need to get permission to lower the kerb for access, each council will have its own policy but most will insist you use one of their preferred contractors.
This is how much it costs to drop a kerb.
We encourage you to read more about driveway legislation by exploring these links: