As well as addressing a whole host of national and local policies on matters such as climate change, design, housing standards, transport etc, planning applications must correctly address some key issues of law and policy in Havant. If not addressed correctly, these can become showstoppers to development. They are also by their nature very technical.

Key topics are introduced on this page, with links to pages providing further detail.

Applicants are advised to engage with these matters early on in developing their scheme and enter into pre-application discussions before an application is progressed. This can help avoid costly investment in applications for schemes that may falter on these key matters of law or policy.

Nutrient Neutrality

Development is only acceptable if it meets the requirements of environmental protections set out in law. Part of the consideration of this is whether there would be a detrimental impact on the water quality of our protected coastline.

The water quality on our coast can be affected by excessive levels of nutrients – in Havant specifically nitrogen - which can come from a number of sources.  In order for development schemes to be permitted, they need to be ‘nutrient neutral’. Development schemes which are not nutrient neutral can not lawfully be granted planning permission.

Full details of this issue and how it must be addressed by applicants for development is available at:

Solent Waders: Recreational Disturbance and Direct Impacts on Habitats

Tens of thousands of coastal birds fly from as far as Arctic Siberia to spend the winter on the Solent. They need to be able to feed and rest undisturbed, if they are to survive the winter and fly back to their summer habitats. Three Special Protection Areas (SPAs) have been designated to safeguard the birds.

Significant development is planned across the districts around the Solent. Research has shown that this will lead to more people visiting the coast for recreation, potentially causing additional disturbance to these birds. Development must therefore contribute to mitigation measures in order to be lawful.

In addition, development on some sites has the potential to affect directly sites used by waders as feeding and nesting grounds. Applicants need to consider whether this is true of their site. On some sites, adverse effects may be mitigated, while some development will be considered unacceptable without suitable replacement habitat secured in perpetuity.

Further information on disturbance and mitigation, as well as direct effects on wader sites is available at:

Biodiversity Net Gain

Biodiversity net gain (BNG) is an approach to development that aims to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was before the development took place.

Under the Environment Act 2021, all planning permissions granted in England (with a few exemptions) will have to deliver at least 10% biodiversity net gain from an as yet unconfirmed date, expected to be in November 2023.

When further guidance is available on this topic it will appear here:

Flood Risk

In a coastal authority such as Havant, there is good awareness of the risk of flooding from the sea, as well as the risks associated with rivers and their floodplains.

What is less well known is that it is not just the areas defined as current day flood zones, but also those areas that are likely to be at risk in the future with climate change taken into account, that need to be fully considered when development is proposed.

Flood risk can also take many other forms besides tidal and fluvial. Poor drainage and resulting surface water flooding, for example, can pose significant threats to development.

Applicants for planning permission will need to demonstrate how flood risk from all sources has been avoided, or where this is not possible, how it has been assessed and mitigated to ensure development is safe for its lifetime, without increasing flood risk elsewhere. 

To meet these requirements, a technical site specific Flood Risk Assessment is required alongside many types of planning applications (see national guidance and local list). Policy and guidance on how to meet requirements is spread over different websites and reports, as is published information needed to complete these assessments. The Council has sought to pull together these sources here:

Other matters

If as an agent or applicant you were expecting to see guidance on any other topic in this section, please make us aware and we will consider adding further topics to this page. Contact us by emailing