What is Surface Water Drainage in the UK?

What is surface drainage UK

There are many types of surface water drainage in the UK. These include French drains, Linear drains, and Soakaways. To learn more about each type, continue reading this guide. In the UK, surface water drainage can occur on the roofs, yards, and other areas of a property.


Soakaways are designed to capture and retain water runoff, and are commonly used in the UK. They are typically constructed of plastic crates, which are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. These crates have the highest whole-life carbon value and are available from 5 manufacturers in the UK and abroad. Detailed design of soakaways is essential for project success. The drains should also be accessible for inspection and cleaning.

Depending on your location, the soakaway may be in a French Drain. A French Drain is a shallow, dug trench filled with gravel. It contains a pipe that takes water from the surface of the land and into a soakaway. Because these drains are often connected, they can be built closer to a property. However, you will need to keep at least five metres away from the property boundary.

Soakaways are typically constructed for draining an area of less than 100 square metres, but they are used in any setting where there is a need to collect runoff. These drains must meet building regulations and local guidance to avoid pollution of the groundwater. They can also be a beneficial way to address the problem of low river flow.

Linear drains

Linear drains are sectional drainage systems that drain over their entire length, as opposed to gully drains which drain over a single point. While there are a number of variations on this theme, most linear drainage systems have a u-shaped cross-section and some type of grating on top. Linear drains can come in a variety of materials and styles, including simple half-metre or metre-long polymer concrete units and stainless steel units. Commercial linear drainage systems can handle two hundred to one thousand litres per second.

Linear drains can be used for a variety of surfaces, including driveways, car parks, and pathways. They can also be used in commercial settings and for airports and ports. Some linear drains feature removable grates, while others do not. The materials used in making linear drains vary, from polymer concrete to plastic.

Linear drains are an excellent choice for surfaces that require a level pitch. They do not have raised edges and are therefore able to support a heavy load. They also offer wall-to-wall coverage.

French drains

When water flows into a trench or a drain, it is directed into the nearest suitable drain-off point. In most cases, this is a soakaway, such as a river or stream. This system eliminates the risk of water accumulating against the wall of a house, resulting in rising damp, crumbling mortar joints, and decaying brickwork.

The installation of a French drain is fairly straightforward, and is usually carried out at the edge of a building. They are designed to divert water away from a building by creating a trench, which is filled with aggregate. Perforated pipes should be wrapped in geotextile membrane or pipe sleeve. The soil should be tamped down lightly. French drains can also be used for construction projects to dewater areas that have been saturated for a long time.

When installing a French drain, it is important to carefully consider the size of the area. It is essential to choose the correct size and type of perforated pipe. For agricultural applications, twinwall surface water pipes are recommended, but perforated land drain coils are the most suitable solution for domestic projects. These pipes come in a variety of sizes, from 60 to 200mm.

Linear drains with gullies

Linear drains are used to provide drainage for large areas. They can be designed to meet different drainage requirements. For example, the average UK rainfall intensity is 75mm per hour, so a linear drain for a pavement of 120m2 should have a flow capacity of 2.5 litres per second. Larger commercial systems can handle flows of up to 1,000 litres per second.

Drainage gullies are important wherever water discharge points occur. They are most commonly found at the bottom of downpipes and patios, but they can also be installed under outside taps and greywater discharge pipes. They collect excess runoff and direct it to the foul water system.

Different types of gullies are available for different purposes, but they all work by the same principle. The location in which you install a gully determines the design.

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