The Chief Planner at the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities has recently released letters in regards to nutrient pollution which is having adverse effects on waterbodies and rivers in the catchments of sites protected for biodiversity under the Habitats Regulations (Habitats sites). 

Natural England are developing advice on nutrient neutrality along with maps of the affected catchments, details of the affected sites, a national Nutrient Neutrality Methodology, and site-specific evidence documents and nutrient calculators to assess the nutrient loads from development proposals, click here to find out more . 

Competent authorities are required to consider the adverse effects as a result of additional nutrient loads from developments in affected areas on Habitats sites. When those impacts may have an adverse effect on the integrity of a habitats site, mitigation via a nutrient neutrality methodology will need to be secured as part of the proposal. Appropriate assessment will likely require a statutory 21 day consultation with Natural England. 

Planning practice guidance is currently under review and a £100,000 nutrient support fund is being made available for each Habitats site catchment to facilitate the employment of nutrient officers.  The planning advisory service is also running workshops for local planning authorities and have set up an online resource on nutrient neutrality click here for more information.

Solutions such as the Yorkshire Water £24.5m fund for nature based strategic solutions using new wetlands to tackle nutrient pollution are also highlighted, such as the nature based treatment at Clifton works.

Click here for more information.