Nutrient Neutrality scandal blocking 100,000 new homes in England

May 2023

Nutrient Neutrality scandal blocking 100,000 new homes in England

PPR Estates (PPR) joined Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Levelling up, Housing and Communities Committee, alongside other property industry leaders at the APPG Advisory Board discussion this week. The Sheffield based MP acknowledged the widespread concern over the currently failing planning system with multiple incoherent and competing policies colliding to cause gridlock. He also accepted the widespread fears that continuous policy tinkering and increasingly prioritizing local consultation ahead of strategic supply and demand requirements mean that the housing crisis is only likely to get worse under the current government.

Specifically, the industry panel educated the MP’s present on how Nutrient Neutrality rules imposed by Natural England last year (without meaningful consultation and no credible solution available yet) have halted all new housing development approvals across swathes of England currently. The utility water companies’ inadequate sewage treatment investment over decades was highlighted as the root cause of these environmental problems, not regeneration or even housebuilding. On the call, both large Housing Association and SME representatives highlighted how all sizes and types of development have been caught up in this dis-jointed government policy trap. Everyone agreed that we need to protect the environment but not at the expense of worsening the housing crisis.

Representing SME’s on the panel, Nick Hopkinson, PPR Director commented “I was shocked to hear that Mr Betts MP had no awareness of how Natural England are currently blocking 100,000 much needed new homes when I raised the subject. Within Nutrient Neutrality affected areas of England the property industry is an easy scapegoat with the Water Boards who make Billions of profits being let off the hook! With no viable solution currently available to SME developers, sites are being left in limbo on many ESG friendly regeneration and levelling up projects as the housing crisis gets ever worse. However, I was reassured when the Parliamentary Committee chair promised to investigate this scandal and hold the Government to account.”

High Street Fund

PPR specialize in high street/ town centre/ offices regen and asset management and has considerable further funds to invest in further acquisitions in 2023. Known for our discrete and fast acquisition processes – we are particularly interested in acquiring urban mixed-use assets that meet our sustainable, value creation mission. You can view some of our recent acquisitions here in Weybridge, Norwich and Winchester.