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Update on Nitrates Issue / Planning Ban

Update on Nitrates Issue / Planning Ban

Following on from last months item, several members of the PDPLA attended a follow on meeting aimed at briefing Penny Morduant MP ahead of a meeting with the Housing Minister.

Donna Jones, who chaired the meeting, explained that the core issue is that our incoming water is already over the EU nitrate limit but not the UK limit and the Natural England has asked that nothing be done (new builds, etc) which would increase nitrate levels in the Solent.

This was discusssed and Penny said its highly unlikely we can get either standard changed in forseeable future. Donna explained that high Nitrate is primarily caused by farming, with nitrates taking 20 to 30 years to filter through our chalk, so nothing we can do in the short term that will make a significant difference.

 Natural England  have said that they will not be making any prosecutions if Local Authorities ignore their advice, but  the EU and other conservation societies(e.g rspb) possibly could.

PCC are installing low water usage facilities in its houses with the aim of reducing water to a level that will allow 518 new houses to be built. - we already have over 400 stalled applications and at present, no process is in place to prioritise which will be allowed to proceed.
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When a planning application is registered the Local Authority have 56 days in which to process it, otherwise it gets a default approval. PCC are currently avoiding this issue by not registering applications.

Apparently, Havant have put a clause into planning agreements that  you can build but not inhabit. This has the benefit that building works are not held up as they are in Portsmouth but does assume that the issue will be resolved before the new builds are complete.

Southampton appear to have decided to ignore it and allow planning!

Poole are allowing planning but have a pot of £230 per house  which they will use to buy farm land and stop farming it..  This actually works longer term but in Portsmouth there is no farm land which can be taken out of use.

It was pointed out that PCC ignore water saving from commercial conversions. so a business with high water usage thats converted to residential will not have the commercial water usage passed to the residential usage. For example, a hairdressers to a house  should be accepted and currently is not. 

One of the attendees was a director from Belway Ltd who said they are now moving away from Portsmouth developments despite having 200 plus ready to go. Other developers in the room confirmed they have given up with development plans for Portsmouth.

Penny agreed to get Natural England and the water authorities together to consider possible solutions at source

Summary: The problem is now being raised at central government level but no clear way forward..   

 

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