Local MP Steve Brine raised the issue of nitrates in Parliament today during a Statement on the future of the housing market.
Speaking for the first time via video link from his Winchester home into the virtual Parliament, Mr Brine said it was an issue tying developers and many other parts of the local economy in knots.
At present few (if any) homes can be built in South Hampshire after Natural England's decision to halt any development which would contribute to nitrate pollution in the Solent, following recent European Court of Justice rulings on the issue. The existing high levels of nitrates are causing harm to the ecosystem and failure of environmental standards.
Government and its agencies have subsequently, and unsuccessfully, tried to map a route to nitrate neutrality for the Solent to get the sector moving again.
He asked Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick; "What can he do to unlock the market in Hampshire, where a stand-off between Natural England and local authorities over nitrates in the Solent—a subject which the Secretary of State knows about—has had planners, developers, architects and investors tied in knots since long before covid-19? Perversely, it is encouraging greenfield development over brownfield."
Responding the Secretary of State said; "My hon. Friend and I have discussed this issue at length on a number of occasions, and he has been assiduous in campaigning to break this deadlock. It is extremely unfortunate that before the coronavirus crisis house building in the Solent area was essentially paused because of the issue he described. I have been working with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Natural England to bring forward guidelines and to bring the parties together, because too many people’s livelihoods depend on this and we need to move forward. I hope that those guidelines are now available and will ensure that we continue to work with his local council and others to get the industry moving in the Solent area."
The MP is working with local authorities in the area, including Winchester, and fellow Hampshire MPs to try and find a resolution to the issue alongside Natural England and the Hampshire & IOW Wildlife Trust.
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Watch (above) Steve's question into the virtual Parliament (SBTV)