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Nutrient neutrality

Nutrient neutrality

What is nutrient neutrality?

The problem involves increased levels of nutrients (such as phosphorus and nitrogen) from development entering and damaging the protected habitats of Natural England 'designated sites'. Natural England has identified protected sites which are in an unfavourable condition due to nutrient pollution and advised the Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) that development should only go ahead if it is 'nutrient neutral'. 

To achieve nutrient neutrality, the nutrient load from additional wastewater (foul and surface water) produced by development should be less than the nutrient load from the previous land uses. In most cases, development will need to be designed alongside suitable mitigation measures to achieve nutrient neutrality. 

Nutrient neutrality and mitigation 

We can help you calculate the nutrient budget (phosphorus/nitrogen loads) for your development and discuss mitigation options. Mitigation can include on-site wastewater treatment and the treatment of surface water runoff using Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), or the creation of on or off-site wetlands and woodlands. There may also be the option to develop a bespoke off-site mitigation strategy with the LPA, which could involve upgrading the septic tanks or water fixtures on existing properties.

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