SUSTAINABLE URBAN DRAINAGE STARTS ON THE DRIVEWAY

As rain levels and flood water becomes a more common sight each year, the importance of sufficient drainage needs to be considered even during the smallest landscaping project. Travis Perkins can provide a wide range of sustainable landscaping solutions.

Whether planning for a complete driveway or just a small parking area, the environmental impact needs to remain a priority. If ignored, the underlying drainage system can become quickly overwhelmed. The potential damage to the client and neighbouring properties shouldn’t be underestimated. This threat and tightened building regulations have meant that a well-balanced and sustainable driveway is no longer a luxury but a necessity.

Many older properties in the UK feature front gardens which don’t have the infrastructure to cope with the increase in surface run-off. With the on-going construction of housing increasing the square footage of concrete and second family cars making driveways commonplace, it is easy to see why urban drainage remains a hot topic.

As a result, the Government introduced changes to the General Permitted Development Order in 2008. This states that any hard surface over five square metres no longer enjoys permitted development rights unless it consists of a porous material.

Despite this change, delivering a sustainable and aesthetically pleasing driveway within planning guidelines doesn’t have to be complicated. There are a number of innovative products on the market to make rain management easy. Combining these with any type of finish such as gravel, stone chips, asphalt or paving creates enough for a unique design that any homeowner will be proud of.

Impermeable materials don’t have to be ruled out when planning a driveway. If the property is surrounded by plant beds, the rain water simply needs to be efficiently directed. Some work will need to be done to identify the soil or sub-soil that exists to ensure that the water sufficiently soaks into the ground. This of course costs the contractor additional time and therefore money.

Additional measures such as driveway channels or a soakaway may need to be put in place if this is the case, but this option is still a reasonably simple solution which avoids the need for any planning permission.

There are now a number of permeable paving products (or ‘sustainable urban drainage systems’) on the market, so homeowners can rest assured that they won’t experience any problems once the job is complete. This is a necessary option if diversion of the water is not possible. As no planning permission is required for this option, it is the ideal route if the area is susceptible to low level flooding or if the position of the house indicates that rainwater build-up will be an issue.

For example, Marshalls Priora, available in both the Drivesett and Driveline ranges, uses a patented nib design to allow surface water to pass between blocks into a specially calculated driveway sub-base where water then drains safely away into the ground below. Joints are commonly filled with 6mm of clean, crushed stone, which sits on a 50mm laying course of the same material. Underneath this is another 200mm sub-base of 20mm crushed stone.

Innovative interlocking block systems which feature contemporary pebble designs are now growing in popularity. Using a special grass seed mixture, they offer a truly carbon neutral option and a green alternative to concrete block paving. Travis Perkins for example, offers Grassguard and Bioverse systems from Marshalls. The Grassguard provides the added benefit of reducing surface wear and therefore providing a low maintenance and aesthetically pleasing finish. There are practical advantages too – the integral strength of this system means the area can double up as an additional parking space whilst maintaining the appearance of a lawn when not in use.

Long gone are the days where laying a non-sustainable driveway is the easy option. This is largely due to planning changes but can also be attributed to the range of innovative products that are now readily available. Travis Perkins works closely with specialist provider Marshalls to ensure customers can source the most comprehensive range of sustainable driveway solutions. By making the most of this expertise, which can be accessed via any nationwide branch, professional landscapers and builders can be confident of creating a driveway that will remain attractive for years to come.

Marshalls offers training in the installation of permeable paving free of charge to its Register of Approved Installers. If you are interested in joining the Marshalls Register please call 0845 820 5000. Click locate your nearest Travis Perkins branch. Technical information on specific Marshalls products can be gained by ringing 0870 120 7474.

For further reading visit the SBS SUDS solution page