Legislation Regarding Rainwater Harvesting Systems
Compared with other green technologies, there is currently little in the way of legislation applicable to rainwater recycling. Planning permission is not usually required for systems as they are covered by ‘permitted development’ rights, though it is always a good idea to check with your local planning officer before proceeding with an installation.
In the case of new builds, the presence of a rainwater recycling system is highly likely to count in favour of planning applications, as they are appreciated by local authorities for their environmental friendliness.
One important stipulation is that all water derived from the collection of rain must be labelled as non-potable so that it is not drunk.
The government is slowly starting to include rainwater recycling in their policy decisions. The Code for Sustainable Homes is a relatively new initiative which aims to encourage the sustainable design of new homes. From 2008 all new homes in the UK have had to be rated against the Code. The reduction in water consumption offered by a rainwater collection system will lead to a higher rating.
More information on the government’s Code for Sustainable Homes is available here: http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/buildingregulations/greenerbuildings/sustainablehomes/
Another recognised assessment method for sustainable green non-domestic buildings is the BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM). More information is available on their website - http://www.breeam.org/