Paved gardens massively increase risk of flooding in your neighbourhood

Traditional lawns allow water to soak into the soil

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The Independent Online

More than a million homeowners in the UK paved over part of their garden last year, dramatically increasing the risk of flooding in their neighbourhood, a survey has found.

Insurance company LV= found that, on average, the amount of green space paved over was 24.2sq m per household – almost the same size as two parking spaces. It warned that if the trend for covering gardens with impermeable materials continues, traditional lawns could become a thing of the past.

More than half of respondents said the main reason for paving over a garden is to create a patio, while nearly a third said it was to build a parking space. Thirty per cent wanted to cut garden maintenance.

Paving over gardens causes a problem for floodwater run-off because a traditional lawn allows water to soak into the soil. On hard surfaces, water builds up in roads and valleys and makes drains overflow.

Since October 2008, installation of impermeable paving greater than five metres square has required planning permission. Yet one in eight homeowners admitted they had inadvertently breached this ruling, risking a fine.