Scrapping of EU pollution rules to unlock 140,000 homes

Aaron Morby 11 months ago
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House builders have welcomed the government’s plan to scrap nutrient neutrality rules that have stalled construction of thousands of new homes.

Gove to sweep away nutrient neutrality rules to boost house building
Gove to sweep away nutrient neutrality rules to boost house building

Currently, legacy EU laws on nutrient neutrality are blocking the delivery of new homes, including cases where planning permission has already been granted.

Announcing plans to scrap the ‘defective’ EU laws, Levelling Up, Housing and Communities secretary, Michael Gove said: “The way EU rules have been applied has held us back.

“These changes will provide a multi-billion pound boost for the UK economy and see us build more than 100,000 new homes.”

To mitigate the impact of the move the Government pledged to double investment to £280m in the Nutrient Mitigation Scheme run by Natural England.

It said this would offset the very small amount of additional nutrient discharge attributable to up to 100,000 homes between now and 2030.

The funding is targetted at reducing runoff from agriculture and plans to upgrade waste water treatment works through conventional upgrades, catchment approaches and nature-based solutions.

It is expected that developers could begin construction on these homes in a matter of months.

HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley said: “We estimated more than 145,000 new build homes have been blocked from being built because of Natural England’s disproportionate moratorium on housebuilding in more than a quarter of local authority areas, from Cornwall to the Tees Valley.

“This is very welcome news.”

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders, said: “The Government has been getting the nutrient neutrality strategy wrong for five years and therefore it is correct that they reassess their approach.

“Despite house building not being the major polluter and implementing many strategies, we have been bending over backwards to reduce pollution.

“We hope this is the start of a process which fixes the pollution issue and doesn’t disproportionately blame and tax the housebuilding industry.”

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