21/03/2023: New environmental venture to solve planning gridlock in Norfolk

Breckland Council has joined forces with Anglian Water and Norwich City Council, North Norfolk, South Norfolk and Broadland district councils, in a bid to tackle the issue of 'nutrient neutrality' and enable building work to resume.

Entitled the Norfolk Environmental Credits Joint Venture, this new partnership will enable developers to offset the environmental impact of their building work by funding initiatives which protect the environment at sites within the partnership area.

It comes after Natural England issued new guidance last year to local planning authorities which outlined how wetland habitats would need to be protected from any adverse impacts of building schemes, known as 'nutrient neutrality'. Under the new guidance, Natural England required planning applications to demonstrate that no additional water pollution would take place as a result of a housing or business development and for mitigation measures to be put in place to tackle the current levels of water pollution which might be found on a site.

Local Planning Authorities, such as district councils, were therefore required to consider the impact of nutrient enrichment before any new planning permission could be granted. This policy resulted in new planning applications being temporarily put on hold across large parts of Norfolk, including stopping approximately 1000 houses awaiting planning permission in Breckland.

Cllr Sarah Suggitt, Executive Member for Strategic & Operational Planning, said: "I am delighted that we've created a partnership which will address the important need to protect the environment in Breckland and other parts of Norfolk, while enabling much-needed building work and the construction of new houses to get back underway."

Last updated: 21/03/2023 17:15:15