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Flood Prevention Using Hydropave Permeable Paving:

By Craig McBride
4 min read

The problem: Increased flooding in the UK

This year was the wettest February in UK history.   So much so, that this week the Government announced it was doubling its budget in flood defence and infrastructure to reduce the risk of flooding.  In this blog, we look at solutions to flooding and focus on Tobermore’s permeable paving range, Hydropave.

The increase in floods in the past few years have many causes and it would be wrong to lay the blame on one single reason.  However, there is no doubt that the laying of impermeable ground surfaces such as concrete and tarmac in areas of the country has reduced permeability, and rainwater has had nowhere to infiltrate to.  The British drainage and sewer system is at its maximum capacity in many areas, particularly in the regions where the highest level of flooding has been experienced.

Worryingly,  scientists have also warned that extreme weather will become far more regular.  In the UK there is a growing acceptance that a more sustainable approach is needed to managing rainfall and flooding.  If flood water is effectively managed it can be recycled and used when needed.

The solution:  Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDs)

Through a Sustainable Urban Drainage (SuDS) system stormwater can be absorbed by permeable paving through enlarged joints, which are filled with grit instead of sand which is used in conventional paving, and stored in a special sub base beneath the paving. This acts like a huge tank, and the aggregate that is used for the sub base filters out most of the pollution that may have been washed off the roads and roofs.

In April 2015, the government introduced new planning guidelines for the use of SuDS on any new housing site with more than ten units. The aim of the guidelines is to ensure that any new development has measures in place for combating potential flooding issues. A good example of this is in Wales. As of January 7th 2019 the Welsh Government proposed new developments must be served by sustainable drainage systems SuDS which complies with the Welsh Ministers’ Standards and is approved by the SuDS Approving Body (SAB).

Furthermore, the Environment Agency recommends that where appropriate, stormwater source control measures, which also improve water quality, should be incorporated into a development proposal. They are essential for any new development in areas where existing sewerage systems are at full capacity.

With the recent flash floods in parts of England, it appears highly likely that this legislation will be adopted throughout the rest of the UK.

What does Tobermore have to offer?

Tobermore manufacture Hydropave – a permeable paving range that is manufactured with all the aesthetic detail and beauty of the non-permeable ranges but with valuable environmental benefits.

For more information on the Hydropave product styles and finishes available visit the Hydropave page.

What is the permeability of Hydropave permeable paving?

Hypropave permeable paving products have a 6mm drainage joint. The infiltration rate of the drainage joint and jointing material will decrease over a number of years but will eventually stabilise. Even after allowing for clogging in the joint research has proven that the long-term infiltration rates will substantially exceed UK hydrological requirements.

This 6mm drainage joint has been proven to have a permeability rate of approximately 30,000 litres/ sec/hectare in tests carried out at The University of Newcastle, this greatly exceeds the UK hydrological requirements.

We have partnered with Civil Engineers who specialise in Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS).

At Technical Design stage, our design partners can provide you with site-specific prelim designs that show the suitable sub-base design requirements for our Hydropave product range. These tend to be sufficient for planning consent. This is a complimentary service which will save you time and money on site.

To find out more and request this complementary service, please fill out the details on this page and one of our team will get back to you.


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Hydropave Tegula Heather

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Unbeatable customer service

When placing a Hydropave order, Tobermore customers will also receive a tailor-made customer service package, ServiceSure. This customer-focused service follows a project from initial enquiry to delivery and beyond, updating customers at every stage ensuring an efficient, and consistent streamlined experience. Hydropave is manufactured on a single site, with higher stock levels than the industry average, and is ready to be delivered to customers in full and on time, without long lead times.

View Hydropave Range

Tobermore’s Hydropave permeable paving range allows you to create spectacular hard landscaping features with environmentally friendly products. Our permeable paving reduces the risk of flooding and pollution by allowing rainfall to infiltrate the ground naturally, reducing the pressure on already overloaded urban drainage systems.


Craig McBride

Craig has been working with Tobermore for over 20 years. As Technical and Product Training Manager, Craig carries a wealth of knowledge about Tobermore products and technical information.