It is critical that water quality is robustly considered during the determination of relevant planning applications in East Hampshire District in order for any planning permission to be considered lawful.

Natural England updated their advice and guidance for calculating and therefore addressing nutrient neutrality in March 2022.

This advice is materially different to that which was in place before. It constitutes the most up-to-date scientific information regarding water quality and so must be taken into account in preparing Habitats Regulations Assessments on planning applications.

This guidance will also apply to any planning applications currently pending determination, including discharge of planning conditions / planning obligations, whereby an updated Nutrient Budget calculation will need to be submitted based on the new methodology.

The advice affects two river catchments within East Hampshire District: the East Hampshire Catchment which drains towards the Solent and Southampton Water Special Protection Area (SPA) / Ramsar and the Solent Maritime Special Area of Conservation (SAC) affecting the southern parishes, and the Itchen Catchment which drains towards the River Itchen SAC affecting parts of the western parishes. It should also be noted that the Natural England advice for the Itchen Catchment also includes a requirement for phosphates to be taken into account in the nutrient budget calculations.

To assist, the council has produced a ‘East Hampshire position statement and mitigation plan’ to aid both the council and developers/applicants:

Natural England’s new advice for both the Solent and Itchen Catchments can be found below:

Further guidance and access to the River Itchen and Solent nutrient neutrality calculators can also be found here:

Water efficiency calculator

For guidance on how to complete a water efficiency calculator and what should be included please refer to appendix a (pages 36-44) of the ‘The Building Regulations 2010 – Sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency’.