Government sets out plan to reduce water pollution

New plans to help safeguard England’s precious protected sites by driving down nutrient pollution and allowing for the construction of sustainable new homes for families across the country were announced by the Government today (Wednesday 20 July).

Nutrient pollution is an urgent problem for freshwater habitats and estuaries which provide a home to wetland birds, fish and insects. Increased levels of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus can speed up the growth of certain plants, disrupting natural processes and devastating wildlife. While the government has taken substantial steps to tackle the issue, today’s measure will fast track progress in hotspot areas while unlocking homebuilding across the country.

Due to excess levels of nutrients in certain English water catchments and as result of complex and bureaucratic EU-derived domestic legislation and case law, Local Planning Authorities can only approve a plan or a project if they are certain it will have no negative effect on legally protected sites for nature.

Natural England, in its statutory role as an adviser on the natural environment, has advised a total of 74 Local Planning Authorities on the nutrient impacts of new plans and projects on protected sites where those protected sites are in unfavourable condition due to excess nutrients.

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