On 20th July, the government announced that the Levelling Up Bill (see our article on this here) will be amended to place a new legal duty on water companies to upgrade treatment works by 2030 in an attempt to reduce water pollution.
Alongside this, Natural England are to introduce a Nutrient Mitigation Scheme, which will see the body develop woodland and wetland areas to offset nutrient pollution. Developers can then by nutrient credits to offset the impact of their proposals.
Though initial advice suggested the scheme would be in place by the autumn, it is now believed that this is in fact when Natural England will begin tendering for the new schemes.
The good news is that SME developers will be prioritised, and developers are still encouraged to provide their own mitigation solutions, with a commitment that Natural England will support, not hinder, such proposals.
This is a very positive step and a sign of swift action from the government. We are still awaiting an announcement from our local councils as to whether they plan to continue with the strategy they outlined in June (see our article on this here).