East Hampshire District Council is one of the first councils in the country to find a way of enabling much-needed new homes to be built - without increasing potentially damaging nutrient levels in the sea.
New case law introduced this year prevents development from taking place unless developers can prove that it will be 'nutrient neutral' - which means that it doesn't increase the current levels of nitrogen in the Solent.
The council has worked hard to ensure that homes can be built while ensuring that environmental safeguards are in place - and will work closely alongside Natural England to do this.
EHDC has signed-up to something called the 'Grampian Condition' which means that the council can now find ways to help developers mitigate the potential impact of additional nutrients - this could involve taking agricultural land out of production or managing agricultural land in a different way.
Cllr Angela Glass, EHDC's Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: "Because of the new case law we haven't generally been permitting development in the southern parishes and part of the north west area of the district.
"But we have now agreed a way of enabling development and to do this we need to ensure that developments are 'nutrient neutral' or that suitable measures are in place to mitigate the impact of the buildings before the homes are occupied.
"From here on EHDC will be approving development in the normal ways in the areas currently affected by using the Grampian Condition."
Notes to editors:
What is nutrient neutrality?
Essentially, humans produce waste which ends up in the sea via sewage works or groundwater and rivers. The waste, even when treated, increases the levels of nutrients (particularly nitrogen) in the Solent which cause algae blooms which can harm the environment. The aim of 'nutrient neutrality' is not to increase the current levels of nitrogen in the sea. Some of the ways that this can be done include taking agricultural land out of production, removing nutrients at the sewage treatment stage or creating wetlands along rivers and shorelines.