Making it illegal to pave over front garderns with non-permeable surfaces is a good idea, but who will enforce the legislation?

DEFRA’s launch of a consultation into whether planning permission is needed to pave over front gardens unless permeable paving materials are used sounds great.

Any initiative that stops people ripping up their front gardens and putting down acres of industrial hard surfaces that inevitably end up covered in oil stains has to be welcome. And if we are to make any headway on the flooding issue there has to be much greater use of permeable hard surfaces.

But before we start cheering too loudly we need to ask if the government going to cough up the money needed for the driveway police needed to enforce this new legislation? It can be difficult to tell the difference between permeable and non-permeable surfaces and without the threat of checks many people may not bother and that is presuming they know about the new legislation in the first place.

The second issue is if we are going to make any headway on tackling water runoff then some degree of compulsion is needed to get developers to incorporate sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) where possible on new schemes as well as private individuals.