As the country is increasingly developed and becomes covered by roads, pavements, and buildings, this increases the load we place on our struggling sewer network, treatment systems and watercourses from pollutants originating on the traditionally drained impermeable surfaces.
At Albany Surveyors many of our Clients are striving to reduce their environmental impact. One way to achieve this is to lay permeable paving, patios and/or driveways. Permeable paving is a relatively recent introduction and is one of the key technologies behind Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS).
SuDS enables control of storm water at its source, rather than introducing it into the drainage system to then end up at a treatment plant. SuDS aims to address this problem by taking the pressure off of our drainage infrastructure.
Government requirements for SuDS for developments in England came into force in April 2015 and are being implemented through the planning system. A ministerial statement now sits alongside the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) as additional policy, spelling out: “the Government’s expectation … that sustainable drainage systems will be provided in new developments wherever this is appropriate”.
The new measures must be applied by local planning authorities (LPAs) through local policies and plans, as well as planning application decisions on ‘major developments’ of 10 or more dwellings and equivalent non-residential or mixed developments. However, this situation might change as the Government intends to “keep this under review and consider the need to make adjustments where necessary”.
We have advised environmental conscious Home owners and Managed Blocks considering re-paving or surfacing works to consider laying permeable paving as it allows water to seep through it, using natural filtration, so excess water to make its way into the soil or ground, rather than running off into the drainage system.
This is increasingly important due to the rise in flash flooding in areas of the UK in recent years, as old drainage systems struggle to cope.
Permeable paving products are both environmentally friendly and retain all the aesthetic qualities of the standard product equivalent, so we don’t have to compromise on appearance.
This is why Albany Surveyors, have been advising our clients to consider ‘green’ permeable paving products of which there is a wide variety on the market, such as: concrete blocks, resin bound aggregate, grass paving systems, gravel and no-fines concrete.
The benefits of permeable paving speak for themselves:
- Flood prevention - Surface water run-off and a lack of capacity in old drainage systems is a contributing factor to flooding. Permeable paving can help prevent flash flooding, by absorbing water rather than directing it to drainage or allowing it to pool on the surface.
- Natural drainage reduces puddles - Permeable paving allows the water to percolate through it so will see a noticeable reduction in standing water. Therefore, it is much safer in freezing conditions as ice does not form.
- Natural filtration - During the process of returning rain water in the ground, natural filtration takes place as it passes through the sub-base of the paving. This removes pollutants and impurities from the water, which can prevent water pollution.
- Sustainable materials - Permeable paving is produced using natural and recycled materials, making it a sustainable choice.
- Reduces the heat island affect - Much of our urban areas are covered by concrete or asphalt etc. These surfaces absorb heat, which increases the temperature and causes a ‘heat island effect’ in towns and cities. If we installed more permeable paving, which allows the soil underneath to breathe, we could reduce heat islands and so help reduces temperatures.
‘Green paving’ is the surface choice for more environmentally friendly residential and commercial properties.
Neal Highfield MRICS – Albany Surveyors