Toggle Mobile Menu Visibility
Toggle Search Controls Visibility
Toggle search control visibility
Search Site

Nutrient Neutrality

Requirement for Nutrient Neutrality in New Development in Peak District Dales Special Area of Conservation (SAC

In  March 2022, Natural England and the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities issued advice about phosphates in the River Wye. Too much phosphates can cause rapid growth of certain plants which can lead to a loss of biodiversity as it can affect wildlife sites.

The advice clarified that some types of development within the catchment of these habitats can cause adverse impacts on nutrient pollution. Such development includes, but is not limited to:

  • Any development comprising overnight accommodation (such as new homes, tourist attractions etc)
  • Any form of permitted development under planning legislation which would give rise to new overnight accommodation
  • Any development not involving overnight accommodation but which may have non-sewerage water quality implications

The 'Habitats Regulations 2017' require planning authorities to ensure that new development does not cause adverse impacts on the integrity of protected habitats before granting permission. 

This means that the Council cannot grant consent for development in the Peak District Dales SAC catchment unless it can rule out "likely significant effects" on the SAC. This has led to delay in housing delivery in the catchment which includes Buxton, part of Dove Holes and the surrounding countryside.

Related documents

Natural England provided the following documents in March 2022:

What we are doing

The Council has been working with partners within the SAC catchment, including the Peak District National Park Authority, Natural England and landowners / developers to identify and deliver a mitigation strategy to support developments that cannot provide their own solutions on-site. The Council is leading on this piece of work and has commissioned consultants to undertake the study.

This study is anticipated to be published in August 2023. The completed study will include:

  • A nutrient budget calculator to enable developers to calculate their phosphate impacts, based on locally derived data assumptions
  • A solutions options report and action plan, setting out potential off-site measures within the catchment that local developers could contribute towards, taking into account factors such as cost, and lead in times; and to identify the most appropriate short, medium and long term on- or off-site solutions

These documents will appear on this webpage when published