Natural England has issued advice to a further 42 authorities including West Berkshire and Basingstoke which could delay the building of 100,000 homes, according to the Home Builders Federation. 

This is because of the need to achieve “Nutrient Neutrality”.

Nutrient pollution is an environmental concern, where in freshwater habitats, increased levels of nutrients (especially nitrogen and phosphorus) can speed up the growth of certain plants, impacting wildlife. 

Pollution from nutrients can arise from untreated or partially treated sewage and wastewater entering rivers, and surface water ‘run-off’ from development. 

Local authorities must assess planning applications for residential development with the environmental impact and can only grant permission if they are certain that they will not have an adverse effect.

The Department for Levelling-up, responsible for housing policy, seems to have been blind-sided by this announcement saying it is a “very challenging situation”. It is now urgently investigating measures to try and counteract the ban. 

The directive will however have an immediate impact and could result in existing permissions being overturned on appeal and planning authorities deferring decisions on current applications. 

Source: Creating the new homes and the healthy natural environment we need - Natural England (