Skip to content

What are you looking for?


Natural England confirms phosphorous mitigation no longer required in Poole Harbour

Following the changes around nutrient neutrality from the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act [1] (LURA), Natural England have announced that phosphorous mitigation is no longer required in the Poole Harbour catchment area (although nitrogen mitigation is still required).

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs highlight that the upgrades secured through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act “are so significant that they will reduce phosphorus to levels consistent with conservation objectives.”[2] This was announced alongside the confirmation that over 140 wastewater treatment works will be subject to the requirement to upgrade contained in the LURA.

It is great to see that nutrient neutrality measures have had a measurable environmental impact on water quality in affected areas. This is also particularly useful for developers within the Poole Harbour catchment as there was no established mitigation scheme for phosphorous impacts; developments had either stalled pending availability of mitigation through a strategic mitigation scheme (which had yet to come online) or delayed through providing on-site solutions or through mitigation measures within an applicant’s control, both of which were often complex, time consuming and costly. Since nitrogen mitigation is provided through Community Infrastructure Levy  (CIL) payments in line with the Nitrogen Reduction in Poole Harbour SPD, there is now much greater certainty on the delivery of sites in the Poole Harbour catchment. Given the ongoing requirement to deliver nitrogen neutrality, applications for overnight accommodation will still require a budget to be submitted, however this should now enable many schemes that were stalled prior to this announcement to come forward.

We understand that Dorset Council have been contacting applicants directly and requesting updated budget calculations where relevant (particularly if these were completed prior to the implementation of the LURA’s statutory duty). Equally, it is also likely that proposals that had yet to be formally submitted will now be deliverable. 

It has been great to see intervention coming from central Government to address the nutrient neutrality issue, something which had been somewhat lacking prior to the LURA. Other measures such as the Local Nutrient Mitigation Fund are assisting LPAs in securing funding for strategic mitigation schemes through Round 1 funding (with Dorset Council securing £4.63 million for the Poole Harbour catchment), with further funding to come through Round 2 which is now open. The availability of strategic mitigation schemes is essential to ensure the delivery of housing (and other overnight accommodation) within affected areas.

For more information please contact Jamie Hanna and Simon Packer.

17 June 2024

[1] Levelling Up and Regeneration Act: What next for mitigating nutrient impacts?
[2] Housebuilding supported as government tackles water pollution at source