Wednesday 30 August 2023

UK scraps EU water pollution rules to build 100,000 homes

UK scraps EU water pollution rules to build 100,000 homes

The government has today revealed its intention to make adjustments to existing EU regulations concerning nutrient neutrality.

This adjustment is anticipated to facilitate the development of more than 100,000 new homes in England by 2030.

At present, EU regulations concerning nutrient neutrality are impeding the construction of new homes, even in cases where the necessary planning permissions have already been authorised.

While this decision has attracted criticism from environmental advocates, the government asserts that housing projects' contribution to nutrient pollution is minor.

Ruth Chambers, Senior Fellow at Green Alliance, said: "Scrapping water pollution rules is a far cry from the government's manifesto commitment to have the most ambitious environmental programme on earth.

"It also breaks promises made repeatedly to Parliament to not lower environmental protections. There has been no consultation and no discussion with anyone other than the housebuilding lobby on this. Parliament must now hold the government to account and save our damaged rivers from even more pollution."

The government intends to engage with the housing construction industry to ensure developers' participation in the initiative while exploring an appropriate approach with the Home Builders Federation.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove said: "The way EU rules have been applied has held us back. These changes will provide a multi-billion pound boost for the UK economy and see us build more than 100,000 new homes.

"Protecting the environment is paramount which is why the measures we’re announcing today will allow us to go further to protect and restore our precious waterways whilst still building the much-needed homes this country needs."

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs  Thérèse Coffey said: "We are going to tackle the key causes of nutrients at source with over £200 million of funding to reduce run off from agriculture and plans to upgrade wastewater treatment works through conventional upgrades, catchment approaches and nature-based solutions."

In response to the news, Sam Richards, Founder and Campaign Director for Britain Remade, said: "We need to clean up our rivers and waterways as quickly as possible - but blocking houses that add almost nothing to water pollution is not the way to do it.

"Existing rules on river pollution are clearly failing to keep the nation’s beloved waterways healthy. If we want clean rivers we need to focus on those polluting the rivers - water companies and farmers - rather than hammering those who want to own their own home."

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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