On Tuesday 29th August 2023 Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove MP announced an intention to amend the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, to remove the obligation upon developers of applications for housing, overnight accommodation and similar land uses to meet an obligation to deliver “nutrient neutrality” following on from the Dutch N case.
On 1 September 2023 we received a letter from the Chief Planner in relation to these proposed amendments, a copy of which is provided below.
We have been campaigning for change in the nutrient neutrality regulations for some time. We’ve long felt that the restrictions on new housing were disproportionate in Somerset where new housing has a limited impact in comparison to other sources of pollution. We currently have approximately 16,000 new homes held up by these regulations.
We are currently reviewing the Government’s proposed changes and require further clarification from Government, as the current legal framework has not changed.
The amended Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will require consideration by Parliament. Until the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill comes into force (and depending upon its final wording) the requirements for each application to demonstrate nutrient neutrality will remain an obligation upon the planning system. As such, currently we still require proposed development to be able to demonstrate nutrient neutrality, and be subject to a Habitats Regulations Assessment before planning permission can be granted.