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Charcon Hard Landscaping has provided a Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) solution to overcome planning restrictions on the construction of a domestic hard standing driveway for a Tyne and Wear homeowner. Although normally viewed as a commercial solution, the use of SuDS is increasingly outlined as a condition of planning consent in large scale housing developments, offices, industrial units, and particularly local authority commissions.

Ron Clark, who lives in a pre-war home within a Conservation area in West Boldon, needed a design solution for a proposed driveway that would ensure the protection of the 50 mature trees surrounding the site.

The preferred design had to incorporate tree friendly construction techniques to minimise impact on the trees. It was also essential that underground water percolation patterns were not affected and the flow of water to the roots of the mature trees was restricted. Also, due to the incline of the proposed driveway, it was crucial that rainfall would not run off towards the public highway.

After researching modern methods of driveway solutions, Mr Clark contacted Charcon to ask if it could offer a solution for the driveway that would allow rainwater to infiltrate through the block paving, instead of running off the slope. Charcon proposed using its Infilta permeable block pavers that allow gaseous exchange and water penetration to tree root systems. A synthetic geogrid was laid to create a reinforced platform to spread the load of a vehicle on the drive over a large area and prevent restriction of water flow.

Layers of woven Charcon geotextile and crushed stone were laid down to cover the sub base area. Granite chippings were compacted on top and finally, Charcon Permeable Pavers were laid and granite chippings brushed into the cavities created by the nibs on the blocks. One of the benefits of Charcon’s approach is that its SuDS systems can be adapted for all types and sizes of project.

Phil Tomlinson from Charcon comments: “The use of permeable concrete block paving, together with the chosen geogrid and geotextile layers, allowed the planning condition objectives to be achieved by eliminating surface water runoff to the public highway and maintaining water flows to the roots of the mature trees on the homeowner’s land.”

Urbanisation of the landscape using large areas of hard impermeable surfaces and conventional piped drainage can result in increased local flooding. Government legislation and planning guidance recognises the use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) as one of the most effective ways to reduce pollution and flooding risk, and minimise the impact on the environment.

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