Havant Borough Council has agreed the first plan in Hampshire which will ensure new developments are 'nitrogen neutral' in accordance with new guidelines from Natural England.
Following recent case law, Natural England has advised local authorities that new developments in the Solent area should only be permitted if they are nitrogen-neutral.
Havant Borough Council has now approved a Position Statement setting out how new development in the borough can achieve nitrogen neutrality. An Implementation Plan will also be produced detailing the mitigation and the costs for new development.
This first of a kind document in Hampshire aims to forge an innovative path to ensure that much needed new housing can be built whilst ensuring the necessary environmental safeguards are put in place.
Working closely with Natural England, Havant Borough Council has ensured this fundamental way forward is reasonable, practical and can be implemented.
Councillor Tim Pike, Deputy Leader and Cabinet lead for Planning, Regeneration and Coastal Communities for Havant Borough Council said, “We take our responsibility to provide sustainable development in the borough very seriously.
“Havant Borough Council will always move forward with sensible proposals for development quickly and decisively. We are the first authority to have a robust plan in place which means we can get back to providing much needed new housing, regeneration and economic development that is nitrogen neutral and meets our responsibilities.
“The implementation of this plan will allow the three elements of sustainable development: economy, environment and social to continue to have equal footing in our planning decisions.”
Andrew Smith, Natural England’s Area Manager for Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight added: “We are pleased that Havant Borough Council has found a way forward which will allow the delivery of important new housing and economic development whilst ensuring that the special habitats of the Solent are protected.
“Natural England will continue to work alongside Havant Borough Council and other local authorities to make sure that the Solent coastline is a great place for people and wildlife.”
Moving forward, Havant Borough Council will call upon central government to address the issue in a holistic way, to ensure there are reasonable contributions from all parties that cause increase in nutrients in the Solent’s harbours and estuaries.