Planning & Nitrogen Neutrality

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TVBC & Nitrogen Neutrality

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Author: Julian Blackmore
Date: 09-Aug-2019
Updated: 14-Aug-2019
Keywords: TVBC, Test Valley, Nitrogen, Nitrate, Planning, Nutrient

"The Planning System Is In Crisis"

Planning permission grinds to a stand still at Test Valley ! For architects, developers, builders and plot owners, the planning system has always been somewhat of a frustratingly inconsistent and bureaucratic process of delays and amendments. Then, just when you have engineered around dealing with it, along comes the "Nutrient Neutrality" planning condition.

What is the problem

On June 24th 2019, Test Valley Borough Council applied a planning condition to all applications requiring any additional dwelling to be nitrogen / nutrient neutral. The problem is that there are little or no solutions to achieve this meaning that applications will be denied.

Why did this happen

Ultimately this came from a court ruling in the EU (CJEU) against the Netherlands which has to be adopted into UK law (unless Brexit occurs). Increased levels of nitrogen in the water is causing issues with the habitat of wading birds. Most of this nitrogen comes from farming and some from housing development. As such, this then became a recommendation of Natural England to councils in the Solent area to impose a planning condition stating that new dwellings are to be nutrient neutral.

Who does it affect

Any council who controls an area where water eventually ends up in the Solent Estuary and has, or is about to adopt the policy. I believe Havant was first.

What planning applications does it affect

Every application for an additional habitable dwelling. At the moment applications made with prior approval such as Class Q and permitted developments such as extensions are exempt. Replacements dwellings on a one for one basis are also being exempted by TVBC at the time of writing.

Is there a solution

At the moment every plot will need to be reviewed on an individual basis so please book a free consultation here. There are no devices that can be just be fitted that can achieve waste water neutrality but there are some methods and offsets depending on the exact plot.

What is the future

We have personally consulted with TVBC, our specialist architect and we have sought clarity directly from cabinet ministers (a written report to follow). The long term solution is likely to be some kind of contribution but at this moment TVBC, Southern Water and Natural England are still in talks.

Further information

Please contact Julian Blackmore for more information.

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