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 Driveway Drainage Options That Comply With Regulations

Updated 2021

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Driveway Drainage Regulations and Options

On the 1st October 2008 and as a result of repeated flash floods in suburban areas around the UK, new drainage regulations came into force.

These rules do not apply to driveways constructed prior to October 2008, only to those completed after that date.

New driveways over five square metres in size should not permit rainwater to discharge onto the public highway or footpath. Where possible, the designer and installer should make provisions for the rainwater to disperse into the ground within the boundary of the property.

There are several options:

Option 1 – Use Permeable Materials and Sub-Base

Since the driveway drainage regulations came into force, hundreds of compliant products have come to market.

You can now choose from permeable tarmac, resin and even blocks. These materials allow rainwater to soak through to the sub-base, if this is also permeable, the rainwater is free to soak into the ground.

Gravel is also a compliant option, again provided the sub-base is permeable.

Option 2 – Build a Soakway and Connect Drainage Channels

Drainage channels can be located within the driveway to collect the rainwater so it doesn’t flow onto the public highway or paths.

The channels will need to be connected to a drain, with a soakaway being the most popular option.

You may already have a suitable soakaway in your garden or you may need to pay for a new one.

Soakaways should be located at least five metres from the property so this option is more suited to homes with larger gardens.

Option 3 – Allow Rainwater to Flow Towards Lawns and Flowerbeds

If you can construct the driveway so rainwater flows towards lawns and flowerbeds where it can drain away naturally, then you won’t need costly soakaways or at least not so many of them.

This won’t be a viable option for some properties, it depends on the layout, size and slope of the garden.

Option 4 – Underground Rainwater Harvesting

The most expensive option but popular with conservationists and those that use a lot of water on their garden plants and lawns.

You can install a large water storage tank either under the drive or adjacent to it under the garden.

Channels divert surface rainwater to the tank and a pump transfers the water to another tank in the garden so you can water the lawn and plants etc.

Option 5 – Get Planning Permission to Discharge Water Onto the Highway

If you have no other option, you can apply for permission to discharge rainwater from your driveway onto the public footpath or highway.

The planning department at your local council is only likely to grant permission if all other options aren’t viable so apply in advance, not retrospectively.

Further Reading

The government’s online portal has plenty of information about driveway drainage regulations.

The Paving Expert has several pages about driveway construction and drainage options.

Video Showing Permeable Block Paving:

A Selection of Drainage Products and Descriptions:

Drainage channel

Drainage channel at the drive entrance and natural drainage to the lawn to the left of the image. (Photo from Summit Driveways)

Slimline channel

A slimline driveway drainage channel for those that prefer a more discreet option.

Discreet gravel drainage

Another discreet driveway drainage option to meet regulations.

Driveway channel

A simple and effective solution for any driveway.

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