What are SUDS?
Sustainable Urban drainage systems (SUDS) are systems of drainage that provide an alternative to the direct channelling of surface water to drains and through networks of pipes and sewers to nearby watercourses. As with natural drainage, SUDS reduce surface water flooding and improve water quality. SUDS achieve this by lowering flow rates, increasing water storage capacity and reducing the transport of pollution to the water environment. Provision for SUDS and the national standards required for their design, construction, maintenance and operation is included in the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.
Does my current driveway need to be SUDS compliant?
No. Providing your driveway was installed prior to October 2008 SUDS regulations do not include pre-existing surfaces.
Do I need to obtain planning permission to install a new driveway?
Despite what many manufacturers or installers may claim, you do not need planning permission if your new or replacement surface uses permeable (or porous) surfacing or if the rainwater is directed to a lawn or border to drain naturally. You only need planning permission if you intend to install a driveway that is not SUDS compliant and directs rainfall into nearby drains or sewers.
So a porous or permeable resin bound surface is SUDS compliant?
No. Simply because a surface is porous or permeable does not mean that it is SUDS complaint. It means that it is suitable for use in a wider SUDS compliant system. A porous resin bound surface is just one of many alternatives which can be used as part of a SUDS compliant surface and a porous resin bound surface is not compliant within itself. Simply installing a resin bound surface directly onto a non-porous substrate does not provide a SUDS compliant surface and it must either be installed on a porous surface or direct rainwater onto an area in which the water can drain naturally.
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Both resin bound and bonded surfaces can be used as part of a SUDS compliant surface. There are also many other alternatives and providing that any rainfall drains to ground and does not discharge onto a public highway or into the domestic drains most surfacing materials can be used as part of a SUDS compliant installation.
Do the SUDS regulations affect all of my property?
No. The regulations only apply to driveways and paths installed in your front garden, which means the area between the front of your house and the public highway or footpath, so anything to the rear of your house is not affected. More information can be found on this Enviroment Agency document.
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