Broadland: Council builds on innovative solution

Three men looking at building plans on a table

Since March 2022 Broadland District Council has not been able to grant planning permission for any house in the catchment of the River Wensum or the Broads.

This is due to the high level of nutrients in both these Special Areas of Conservation.

Natural England, a government body, imposed the restrictions because of concerns that building new homes was contributing to pollution in the River Wensum and parts of the Norfolk Broads, through the nutrients contained in the wastewater produced by households.

Natural England says building cannot start again until builders and local authorities have come up with ways to address the issue, by achieving 'nutrient neutrality'.

High levels of nutrients is a problem that has affected many areas of the country but now, working with Anglian Water and the other Norfolk authorities, Broadland District Council has taken an innovative and proactive lead in finding a solution to the issue.

In Spring of this year, the Council will establish a Joint Venture Company with its partners to help secure projects that will help reduce the nutrient levels in our most important waterways. This will enable councils to restart the planning process and deliver the much-needed growth for the area.

Broadland District Council is funding the set-up of the company costing £150,000 and each partner will purchase a share of the company, costing £30,000 per Council.

Broadland District Councillor Fran Whymark said:

“We welcome this significant progress and are pleased to support the establishment of the Joint venture Company.

“The company will buy the nutrient mitigation provided by a variety of projects such as reedbeds and tree planting which capture nutrients, or improvements to waste-water treatment plants which strip out nutrients from our foul water. This mitigation will be divided into ‘credits’ which will be sold to developers to offset the additional nutrients arising from their proposed houses. This will enable our local business to start building the new homes we need.”

Published: 12 January 2023