Nutrient Neutrality

Increased levels of nitrogen and phosphorous entering aquatic environments via surface water and ground water can impact the sensitive habitats and species for which Special Protection Areas, Ramsar sites and Special Areas of Conservation are designated. The requirements of the Habitats Regulations mean that a local authority, acting in its capacity as competent authority, must be certain that development falling within a relevant catchment has demonstrated that it is nutrient neutral. This places an obligation on applicants to provide the necessary calculations and show that if required, nutrient neutrality can be secured through appropriate mitigation.

The requirement for nutrient neutrality can also represent an opportunity for landowners who have land available for offer as mitigation, and who are prepared to secure and manage the land under the required legal processes.

Holbury offers the following services:


For developers and householders requiring supporting information to a planning application:

  • Nitrogen and phosphorous calculations to determine the nutrient balance for development schemes using the relevant calculators provided by Natural England. Able to provide calculations and advice for single unit applications to strategic development sites
  • Strategy and advice to address available mitigation options, phasing and interim solutions where relevant
  • Exploration of offsetting opportunities for both landowners and developers and facilitation of link-up of between the two where opportunities exist
  • Advice in relation to planning, funding and delivery mechanisms to secure mitigation and/or offsets in perpetuity
  • Preparation of all relevant documentation, as required


For landowners interested in bringing forward strategic mitigation:

Support and advice on establishment of strategic mitigation schemes, whether it be the removal of land from agriculture or the creation of a constructed wetland, or other. To include:

  • Design and agreement of the scheme
  • Negotiation of the nitrogen budget for the site with Natural England and the local authority to prepare a formal Nitrogen Statement
  • Advice in relation to the legal expectations and structures around delivering a scheme in perpetuity
  • Preparation and agreement of a Management Plan to accompany the S106
  • Legal structures and mechanisms around allocation agreements for both local authorities and developers seeking to buy credits, and the monitoring of credit sales thereafter
  • Advice in relation to the role of S33 agreements in allowing other local authorities within the relevant catchment to rely on the scheme when acting as competent authority under the Habitats Regulations
  • Providing oversight of the establishment process of the scheme and to provide Completion Statements for local authority record


Assessment of nitrogen inputs

Examples of project experience:

  • Welborne, Fareham. Demonstration of nitrogen neutrality through calculations and assessment in support of an outline planning application for 6000 new residential homes.

    Client: Buckland Ltd

  • Planning applications for a range of new single dwellings. Inclusive of Hoe Farm, Hambledon; Nursery Cottage, Longstock; The Laurels, Weyhill; Land East of Court Drove, Overton; the Old Poultry Shed, Awbridge.

    Clients: A range of individual householders

  • Roke Manor Farm strategic nutrient mitigation scheme. Worked with Roke Manor Ltd to design, negotiate, agree with Natural England and Test Valley Borough Council and deliver. On-going monitoring role.

    Client: Roke Manor Ltd

  • Berewood, Waterlooville. Strategic advice in addressing the issue of nutrient neutrality on a consented, part built development of up to 2550 homes.

    Client: Grainger Plc

  • Cotford St Luke, Taunton. Phosphate calculations and advice in relation to phased development to secure interim mitigation solutions.

    Client: Hallam Land Management Ltd

  • Residential Care Home, Chard. Strategic advice in relation to mitigation options to secure phosphate neutrality.

    Client: Frontier Estates Ltd

Get In Touch

07776 137 604

Romsey, Hampshire

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