Scrapping ‘nutrient neutrality’ rules could lead to the ecological collapse of our waterways warn Greens


29 August 2023

Responding to the news that the government is scrapping ‘nutrient neutrality’ rules as a way to boost house building [1], Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay has warned it could lead to the ecological collapse of our waterways and has repeated a call to take water back into public ownership. 

Nutrient neutrality rules were put in place in 2017 by the EU. The rules prevent local authorities giving the go-ahead to new developments that are projected to add to river nutrients such as phosphates and nitrates, either through wastewater from new homes or run-off from building sites.

Ramsay said:

“It is beyond credulity that the government’s answer to dealing with our toxic rivers is to water down regulations and allow even more filth to flow into them. There’s a risk that scrapping nutrient neutrality rules will result in the complete ecological collapse of our waterways.

“Rather than weakening regulation we need firmer controls on private water companies and hugely profitable housebuilders. The Green Party would do this by taking water companies into public ownership, ending the siphoning off of profits to shareholders and investing instead in cleaning up our act. We’d also have a clear focus on affordable, high quality and environmentally friendly homes, by investing in a large scale council house building programme.

“The government’s reckless actions once again put the spotlight on Labour. Will they pledge that a future Labour government will reinstate rules which prevent developments polluting our waterways?”




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