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Coverage on nutrient neutrality

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River Irwell

There has been coverage over the weekend on nutrient neutrality and its impact on housebuilding, in The Guardian, The Times & Daily Telegraph.

This morning Natural England Chair, Tony Juniper was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 Today where he clarified some inaccurate reporting that Natural England is banning housebuilding, and set out how there is advice and support on nutrient neutrality available to local planners and developers so they can build homes in a way that mitigates for any additional nutrients released into the environment as a result of development and helps protect fragile freshwater and coastal habitats.

Natural England wants to support planning authorities and developers to build the sustainable new homes that this country needs and is working with government and partners to help do this. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Planning Advisory Service and Natural England are funding additional support for local planning authorities to help with this issue.

Tony Juniper, Natural England Chair, said:

Nutrient neutrality is not about stopping developments - it’s about making sure that pollution is not made worse by new development.

Without mitigation, extra wastewater from new housing developments can contribute to the decline of our protected wetland and coastal sites, and undermine our efforts to recover these sites back to the healthy habitats they should be.

Natural England, working alongside our partners, will support planning authorities and developers to build sustainable new homes and contribute to healthy rivers, lakes and estuaries nearby.

You can read more in our blog Creating the new homes and the healthy natural environment we need - Natural England (

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  1. Comment by kim Hemmings posted on

    The supply of water is just as key when considering housing. Rivers are water stressed and our rare chalk streams supply much of our drinking water and a pollution incident could shut down a reservoir for quite some time. Water supply companies could provide upfront plans when asked to supply and treat water so that rivers are not impacted from housing developments -currently I understand this is not required. There could be so many more opportunities within developments to improve water resource efficiency and if we are going to ensure water security this has got to be factored in. Ask the question to people where does your water come from - most will assume the tap . There is generally very little regard given to the value of water and clean water will be difficult to achieve if efficiency is not addressed. There seems to be a lot of missed opportunities within housing developments for more sustainable use of ALL resources. Emphasis on SUDS which we need but water efficiency has got to be key (ie: use less, create less need to treat waste water). Raising the profile of water is going to be essential.

  2. Comment by Iain Perkins posted on

    Unfortunately many developers are not interested in building sustainable new homes or contributing to healthy or unhealthy nearby rivers, lakes and estuaries unless they are legislated too and that they still get a healthy profit.

  3. Comment by John w Baxter posted on

    The protection of wetlands and coastal waters begins in protecting our rivers from poorly managed waste water treatment plants that have been unnecessarily allowed to discharge too heavy loads of waste to water courses.
    The time has come to divert investment from biogas production to enhancing the quality of discharges to water courses, the improved standards being set by the government and enforced with vigour……the public expects and deserves better.