Man building a house

DCN responds to government housebuilding announcement

The District Councils’ Network (DCN) has stated that it ‘strongly welcomes’ the announcement from government that it will alter legislation around nutrient neutrality.

According to the DCN, the impact of nutrient neutrality and the legislation surrounding it has ‘effectively stopped’ housebuilding in more than a quarter of England, however the government has announced that the rules surrounding the matter will be altered. Through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, the government will legislate that Natural England’s rules on nutrient pollution will become advisory, as opposed to mandatory. New funding is also to be made available to boost the Nutrient Mitigation Scheme, whilst tackling the issue of pollution in England’s water.

Whilst the current legislation is there to limit pollution in England’s waterways, there are several local issues that are building up due to the guidance from Natural England, where it may not be necessary. This has seen tens of thousands of homes being inhibited before they can be developed for more than forty councils that are members of the DCN, with the areas affected suffering from reduced numbers of affordable homes as well as up to £10,000 being added onto the cost of new homes. The local supply chain, including bricklayers, roofers, tilers, groundworkers and other related trades have also been impacted.

Chairman of the District Councils’ Network, Cllr Sam Chapman-Allen, said:

“Today’s action to tackle the unintended impact of nutrient neutrality rules on local housebuilding is excellent news for district councils. It will unblock tens of thousands of much needed new and affordable homes for more than forty of our member councils. It is good for local residents and good for local jobs. The District Councils’ Network has been calling for the Government to act to take the burden of cleaning up our rivers away from councils. We are pleased that it has listened and found a solution that includes substantial new funding to address the underlying pollution problem. We call on parliament to pass the legislation that will make this a reality.”

Examples of how the current nutrient neutrality rules have affected some councils can be seen in Ashford, Kent and in Eastleigh. In Ashford, 10,000 new homes have had delivery halted, with this impacting the levels of affordable housing being developed, whilst in Eastleigh the council has spent more than £20 million to address the nutrient mitigation issue.


Image credit: iStock


PSE April/ May 2024

Alarming decline in UK costal water quality

Dive into our latest edition for April/May 2024!


More articles...

View all
Online Conference


2024 Online Conferences

In partnership with our community of public sector leaders responsible for procurement and strategy across local authorities and the wider public sector, we’ve devised a collaborative calendar of conferences and events for leaders of industry to listen, learn and collaborate through engaging and immersive conversation.

All our conferences are CPD accredited, which means you can gain points to advance your career by attending our online conferences. Also, the contents are available on demand so you can re-watch at your convenience.

Public Sector Executive Podcast

Listen to industry leaders on everything within the public sector

From government policies and public administration to education, healthcare, and infrastructure, we explore the challenges and innovations shaping our communities.


Join us as we speak with industry leaders, policymakers, and frontline professionals, providing you with valuable insights and perspectives to stay informed and engaged with the issues that matter most.