A growing number of local planning authorities have learned from Natural England that development in some catchments cannot proceed if it increases levels of nutrients. Their advice is that development can only proceed if it is "nutrient neutral". We're starting a new programme of work to support the latest cohort of councils learn from the experience of councils before them.
March 2022 update: A new cohort of 42 councils have received advice on "nutrient neutrality".
PAS held a series of workshops in March-May 2022 to walk people through the issue, to try to answer their questions and to provide a roadmap to try and make progress. The events looked at the short-term organisational response to nutrient neutrality, and helped to draw together some ideas for how we might help in the longer term. The events were supported by key people from Defra, Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communties. The LGA is separately holding events for councillors.
We've produced a helpful set of FAQs following the Natural England advice to Local Planning Authorities on 22nd March 2022. This topic has many moving parts and there is lots of advice that still being agreed/debated - so not every question has a firm answer - we'll be providing regular updates.
Where to start?
Some councils will receive the advice from Natural England out of the blue, and it can be difficult to know what to do next. We've spoken to councils who have had to work some of this out on their own. From these discussions we've produced a 'first steps checklist' which includes some of the key questions and prompts that might help to organise your thoughts and first steps. We also held some workshops back in July 2021 talking to councils that have been grappling with the Nitrates issue for some time - the presentations from our July 2021 workshops are here.
Mapping the Catchments
Importantly the advice applies to catchments - here is our first attempt to map them.