Move to reduce flood risk from poor drainage.

The government has introduced regulations to prevent homeowners from paving their front gardens in order to reduce flood risks .

Under the rules, driveways or parking areas will have to be made of surfaces that allow water to soak through to the ground.

These permeable surfaces, such as concrete block paving with gaps, asphalt or gravel, will not need planning permission.

The government said two-thirds of the homes affected by the floods last year (about 55,000 properties) were damaged by surface water run-off.

Caroline Flint, housing and planning minister, said: “Many homes need better protection against flooding, which is why the changes will promote permeable surfaces for driveways that allow surface water drainage – a major factor in recent floods.”

She added that hard surfaces could lead to accelerated run-off of surface water, which could overload sewage systems in more built-up areas..