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Scrapping EU-era nutrient neutrality ‘will boost England housing stock’

Downing Street has proposed removing the financial burden of mitigating nutrient pollutants from housebuilders.

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According to the Government, changing this policy could bolster the residential construction sector and lead to 100,000 more new homes being built in England by 2030. According to Downing Street, housing developments contribute very little to pollution levels, with new funding confirmed to help limit and reverse the damage that is caused. 

However, environmental campaigners and residents’ groups have voiced objection and concern. A string of ecological and climate-related promises have been broken post-Brexit, and the Conservative Party’s ‘green record’ has been tarnished by successive controversies. Critics claim this casts doubt over how effective new policies would be, which replace the current obligation for any new housing development to be ‘nutrient neutral’.

If the change goes ahead, the existing nutrient mitigation scheme, administered by Natural England, would double its budget to £280million, and an additional £166million would be made available for slurry infrastructure grants. The proposed amendment to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill is currently going through the House of Lords and could come into effect in the near future. 

‘We are committed to building the homes this country needs and to enhancing our environment. The way EU rules have been applied has held us back. These changes will provide a multibillion-pound boost for the UK economy and see us build more than 100,000 new homes,’ said Housing Secretary Michael Gove. ‘Protecting the environment is paramount which is why the measures we’re announcing today will allow us to go further to protect and restore our precious waterways whilst still building the much-needed homes this country needs.’

More on housing and construction:

Leeds City Council decarbonisation scheme celebrated for cutting fuel poverty

Greenbelt ‘at risk from development’ highlights environmental-housing crisis

How Essex County Council fuelled economic growth with energy retrofits

Image: Ivan Bandura

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