Laura Sharman 04 May 2022

'Nutrient neutrality' rules are delaying up to 100,000 new homes

Nutrient neutrality rules are delaying up to 100,000 new homes image
Image: yackers1 /

Up to 100,000 new homes are being delayed due to new regulations around 'nutrient neutrality', according to new research.

Under the new regulations, new homes in protected sites must not cause by nutrient pollution in water courses.

Last month, 42 local authorities were contacted by Natural England to explain new residential development can only happen if the 'nutrient load created through additional wastewater from the development is mitigated'.

A survey by the Home Builders Federation of the new local authorities affected by this requirement found the number of homes being delayed is 36,752. This is in addition to 60,000 homes that have been delayed in the initial seven catchments.

The research shows that the majority of homes delayed - 18,766 - are concentrated in the Teesmouth & Cleveland Coast catchment. A further 10,490 homes are delayed in the Broads and Wensum catchments in Norfolk, with 2,514 delayed in the River Eden catchment.

James Stevens, director for cities at the Home Builders Federation, said: 'Avoiding harm to water habitats caused by nutrients is important, and the housebuilding industry is prepared to play its part in a way that is fair and reasonable. However, we face an acute housing shortage and the social and economic implications of delaying tens of thousands of homes are stark.

'We are urging Government to agree proportionate measures that reflect the contribution of housing delivery to the issue without delay. The situation has already been ongoing for some years and it is imperative that solutions are agreed and implemented urgently.'

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