The 2008 Water Surface Legislation – What it states and means to you

This legislation, enforced in 2008 states that driveways must have adequate drainage if there is any possibility water is able to run onto public paths or highways.
While many approved landscaping companies who install to British standards factor in this cost and advise on drainage, many companies do not advise their customers it is a necessity and ignore the legislation altogether. This means the company is able to quote a project for a much lower cost than companies who do factor in this requirement – as drainage significantly increases the price of a project.
Many customers are enticed into going with a company who have quoted a lot less for a similar job. Unfortunately these home-owners have not been advised that if the council find out the property does not have adequate drainage, they will be the people footing the bill to put it right – which may mean finding another landscaping company to fix the problem.

Companies who install to British standards should offer a range of drainage options. These include but are not limited to:

  • Permeable paving solutions
  • SUDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems)
  • Soakaways
  • Natural drainage (allowing water to simply run off into lawns or flowerbeds)

In some cases, where driveways are less than 5 metres squared or where water will not run into public spaces, planning permission doesn’t have to be seeked and drainage would not have to be installed. Your landscaping company should advise on this.

Our advice? Be wary of any company who do not mention or advise on drainage. Before agreeing to any work, make sure the additional costs are added in, ensuring you will not be liable to pay if the council decide drainage should have been installed. At the end of the day, the home-owners pay the price and rogue companies get off lightly!

For more information, please email or visit