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Tarmac drives & Planning Permission. What you need to know

We get asked quite often, what the rules and procedures are, in terms of having a domestic tarmacked driveway installed and local authority planning permission.

Here’s what you need to know.

Size and surface

The general rule of thumb with planning permission is, that you need to know the square meterage of the area you’d like covered and the difference between a permeable tarmac surface and a non-permeable tarmac surface.


Permeable surfaces soak up a percentage of rainfall and then feed this water into the ground below. Non-permeable surfaces do not.

You will not need planning permission if a new (or replacement) driveway of any size has permeable surfacing such as gravel, permeable concrete block paving or porous asphalt, or if the rainwater is directed to a lawn or border to drain naturally.

The core issue for the local authority is, if rainwater from your premises is likely to drain across a pavement and onto the highway. Drainage will probably be more of an issue if your home is in a city, town or village, than if it’s in a more isolated rural setting.


So, to answer the question, ‘Do I need or do I not need planning permission for my driveway?’, in addition to the above background, your ground surfacing contractor will be able to advise you.

In addition, the Planning Portal is a national online resource (in partnership with the Department for Communities and Local Government) that local authorities will use and will probably refer you to. The two key pages to look at are:



The first of these includes a link to this Govt., website page, with background information on surfacing a front garden.


If you do need to apply

To put in a planning application, you will typically need to submit this via your local authority’s website.

Here to help

When it comes to professional surfacing, we want you to get the very best results from the right contractor.

We are therefore, always here to answer any questions and to give impartial advice. Do call us on 01386 422411. We’d be pleased to see how we can help.

You can also read our other blogs.

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