Nutrient Neutrality Background (2021)

The presentations below were used in July 2021, but still serve as a good overview of the topic. 

Several authorities around Natura 2000 sites have received guidance from Natural England declaring the sites to be in an “unfavourable condition” from Nitrate or Phosphate pollution. Authorities in these areas are required to halt housing development until a way can be found of ensuring that new schemes do not contribute to the problem and are "nutrient neutral".

With the support of Defra, Natural England and the Environment Agency, we began by holding some workshops to examine the challenges and issues raised for planning:

  • An introductory presentation from colleagues in Defra set out the context and issues raised by nutrient pollution
  • A presentation from Natural England explained the legal context, role of accountable authorities and scale of the challenge, with advice for planning authorities in affected areas.
  • The Environment Agency explained their role in protecting European sites and granting permits for discharges to the water environment.

Participants also gained a valuable insight into the practicalities of dealing with nutrient neutrality from the local authority perspective, with presentations from experienced planners working on solutions in the Solent, Somerset and Stodmarsh areas.