We need a longer-term strategy on nutrient neutrality

By Gill Kneller | 09 January 2020

Nutrient neutrality wasn’t an issue until 2018 – prompting Natural England – the non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to advise local planning authorities in south Hampshire not to grant planning consents unless they can demonstrate it. As we are duty bound to consider Natural England’s advice, it’s impossible to grant planning permission for all but a handful of new housing developments. What does this mean?

Humans produce waste which ends up in the sea via sewage works, groundwater and rivers. This increases the levels of nutrients, which causes algal blooms that can harm the environment. The aim of nutrient neutrality is to not increase current levels. As a result, there’s a new and immediate need to address water quality to protect European-designated nature conservation sites.

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