Nutrient pollution is a major environmental issue for developments in some parts of the country.
Nutrient Neutrality (NN) is Natural England’s accepted approach for protecting designated sites from excess materials (nitrogen and/or phosphorus) entering the water environment. Where this occurs, this kind of pollution results in environmental damage to freshwater habitats and estuaries, harming the species that are dependent on them.
Earlier this year, Natural England provided advice to Local Planning Authorities within affected water catchments requiring that new developments should only proceed if the scheme is “nutrient neutral”. This will ensure there is no net increase in those arising from the development.
Types of development affected include new housing schemes, and commercial and tourism developments where overnight accommodation is provided. This recognises that new developments will generate increased volumes of waste water that need to be treated, which results in higher levels of those materials entering the environment.
Nutrient Neutrality is method of assessing the current nutrient loading from the existing land use and comparing it against the loading from the proposed development. Where there is an increase is identified, mitigation is required to treat or off-set the excess. The aim is to implement mitigation measures to avoid impacts to the designated sites, rather than compensating for the impacts once they have occurred.
Nutrient mitigation can include a range of options, including treatment systems from constructed wetlands and new wastewater treatment works, but also off-setting with the change of land use from one with a high nutrient loading (e.g. intensive farming) to one with a lower.
An ‘Appropriate Assessment’ needs to be completed which demonstrates the level of loadings generated and how the proposed mitigation measures will provide the required treatment or off-setting.
LEAP can provide the following NN services for your development:
- Undertake nutrient neutrality assessments to support your application.
- Option appraisals for potential mitigation solutions
- Assistance with nutrient trading schemes
- Assist with Environmental Permits for new Waste Water Treatment Works including monitoring for the collection water quality data.
Get in touch to find out more information on Nutrient Neutrality and how we can help you.