Planning permissions plummet to new record low
The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is calling for the government to take action to speed up the planning process.
The move comes after figures reveal some 145,000 new homes have been blocked by Natural England’s nutrient neutrality rules.
The latest HBF Housing Pipeline report shows the number of planning permissions being granted across England is continuing to plummet to new record lows.
Natural England and the government are working with local planning authorities (LPAs) to ensure wastewater produced by new homes does not increase pollution in rivers and along coasts.
The programme, which requires the LPA to consider the impact of nutrient neutrality before granting planning permission, aims to address high levels of phosphate and nitrate.
However, many are claiming the moves are disproportionate and have only deepened the housing crisis, with bans on development imposed on 74 of England’s local authority areas.
And the HBF is urging ministers to step in and agree a solution.
Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF, says: “Despite the fact we face an acute housing crisis, the government’s policy approach continues to drive housing supply down.
“There is now clear evidence that planning permissions are plummeting, a direct result of the government’s capitulation to the NIMBY lobby on planning.
“Over the last four years ministers have failed to intervene on Natural England’s disproportionate ban on new homes, which disregards the findings of government’s own evidence and represents a major misdirection of effort and resources.
“While ministers prevaricate, housing supply is tumbling and the consequences are becoming ever clearer for young people in need of decent housing and builders’ jobs.”
According to the HBF, the two main causes of nutrient-related pollution of rivers are run-off from agricultural activities and the failure of water companies to maintain infrastructure to deal with nutrients from other land uses.
The organisation claims existing development, including residential, commercial and the rest of the built environment, contributes less than five per cent towards the phosphate and nitrate deposits in our rivers.