- The Government is tabling an amendment to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill that will, if passed, reform EU Rules on Nutrient Neutrality.
- Nutrient Neutrality rules have been particularly restricting on our racing industry’s ability to develop and grow
- EU rules are misguided and overbearing on residents without addressing the underlying cause of pollution. HM Government is seeking to change this.
HM Government has announced plans to use Brexit freedoms to reform defective EU laws and deliver 100,000 new homes, helping more people achieve home ownership and growing the economy.
These EU rules often blocked new homes from being built, even where planning permission had been granted, because of rules surrounding nutrients in the ground. It is right these defective laws are reformed to build the homes our country needs.
That is why Michael Gove announced that he will reform defective EU laws to allow 100,000 more homes to be built in Britain, creating 50,000 jobs and adding £18 billion to our economy whilst also ensuring that environmental measures continue to tackle pollution and restore habitats.
This plan will not come at the expense of the environment. Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for the Environment, also announced tougher sewage rules for water companies; doubling funding for mitigation schemes to more than offset the small environmental impact of new homes; and a £225 million investment to help farmers reduce the impact of agriculture on the environment.
HM Government will also be introducing new laws to drive significant investment from water companies to upgrade wastewater treatment works to the highest technical standards by 2030, reducing nutrients entering the water from new development. This will:
- Provide £280 million to reduce nutrient levels where it is most needed. The funding means that any additional nutrients from these 100,000 homes between now and 2030 will be more than offset in full. This will fund innovative technologies such as those being trialled in Somerset to pull pollution out of wastewater and new wetlands and nature-based solutions that help absorb nutrients before they enter our waterways.
- Support farmers to produce food more sustainably. HM Government are investing £200 million in grants into slurry infrastructure to reduce nutrient run off into rivers, and conducting 4,000 inspections on farms each year, making sure that slurry and other pollutants are being handled correctly. They are also investing £25 million to drive innovation in farming to help farmers manage plant and soil nutrients more efficiently, cutting input costs and pollution.
- Develop a Protected Sites Strategies to boost nature in the areas most impacted by nutrient neutrality and with the most acute housing pressures. These bespoke strategies will identify tangible action needed to restore habitats, species, and geodiversity, while reducing pollution at source, for example through nature-based solutions such as wetlands.
- Introduce payment premiums into our environmental land management schemes in 2024, accelerating the take up of options, including those that provide benefits for water quality.
- Ensure new homes do not place undue stress on already stressed local water networks through new requirements where needed for Sustainable Drainage Solutions, reducing pressure on storm overflows from new homes and flood risk.
Commenting, Cllr Howard Woollaston, Ward Member for Lambourn, said:
“One of the most common issues I have heard residents complain about is the effect of Nutrient Neutrality rules.
These rules have been particularly obstructive in my part of West Berkshire and I welcome Michael Gove’s announcement.
I am pleased that the onus of responsibility is being taken away from businesses working hard for the local economy, and extra funding is being promised to ensure that the appropriate people are tasked with keeping our environment protected.”
Commenting, Jamie Snowden, Owner of Jamie Snowden Racing in Lambourn, said:
“Nutrient Neutrality seriously impacted the racehorse trainer community here in West Berkshire, an industry that contributes over £25 million to the local economy.
As a local business, I currently employ 20 people and had been planning to expand the business in 2022. Nutrient Neutrality meant that the planning application submitted to West Berkshire stalled, leaving plans to grow the business on hold indefinitely.
I hope that with Nutrient Neutrality removed, the Council will allow this vital local industry which provides jobs, protects our rural way of life, and brings in economic growth to thrive.”