The new measures could impact homeowners and builders and bring more green spaces and less solid paving in efforts to help clean up Britain’s waterways
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Paved driveways could be banned in new restrictions aimed at tackling river pollution in Britain.
The government is considering new rules that could require homeowners to have sustainable drainage as part of their plan to clean up waterways.
A green light could lead to more green spaces at new developments and the end of large scale paving.
Solid paved driveways do not allow water to soak into the ground and rely on drains instead.
But this excess water can have a knock on effect on sewage systems, causing them to overflow and lead to drainage issues for the area and its surroundings.
Minister for water Rebecca Pow told the Telegraph that driveways should be able to stop this from happening.
“We need to have semi-permeable membranes on our driveways rather than Tarmac so that rainwater doesn’t rush away but soaks in,” she said.
The Tory minister explained that developers might have to prove they had sustainable drainage systems before they were permitted to connect to sewage networks to avoid pumping rivers with waste.
It comes under the Clean Rivers campaign in her Somerset constituency of Taunton Deane.
Ministers are still looking at builders’ “right to connect” and whether or not they only offer this to those with sustainable drainage.
Major housing developments might also have to invest in new sewage infrastructure to avoid overwhelming the existing system, reports suggest.
Parliament is also considering whether to create ponds where water can soak into the ground rather than running into drains which can cause sewage systems to overflow.
Ms Pow said that Britain needs to be more sustainably conscious and look at “the really big picture” in order to have the best possible housing.
But her initiative may put a spanner in the works for the housing ministry which aims to build 300,000 new homes each year.
Semi-permeable driveways are another alternative for Brits wanting to help tackle river pollution.
The material soaks up water and retains it rather than allowing it to rush towards drains.
Pollution from raw sewage being offloaded into rivers has recently risen up the political agenda.
Ms Pow said water companies have started to monitor their storm overflows in the last five years and that the government is acting fast on what used to be a hidden problem.
“We’ve literally prioritized this more than it’s ever been prioritized,” she added.
The minister also hoped Michael Gove might be sympathetic towards her objective to make sustainable housing developments, as a former Defra member.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.