Just as we started getting on top of the Nitrate Neutrality issue on the South coast another issue has arisen affecting development proposals in the more inland areas relating to water neutrality.

Natural England has issued a Position Statement to Horsham, Crawley and Chichester District Councils about the impact developments are having on water abstraction within the Sussex North water supply zone. In short these planning authorities have been told that applications within the zone cannot be determined until a water neutrality strategy is produced. Where a planning application is of critical importance, which in our view should include housing proposals, it can only be determined where it demonstrates water neutrality, ie the use of water in the supply area must not be increased as a result of a development.

The affected area is shown below:

It is likely that proposals will now be required to meet more stringent water usage targets which can be achieved through measures such as rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling. However, these measures alone will not be enough to fully offset a development’s water usage so further measures may be required. These could include improving the water efficiency of existing buildings or land uses in the same zone, or where applicants do not own other buildings making a contribution towards the installation of water reduction measures in Council or Housing Association owned buildings.

Horsham District Council is currently taking legal advice on the implications of Natural England’s Position Statement and we await further information as to how applications will be affected.

Please contact our Planning team for further information.

Sussex Office:

Clare Bartlett MRTPI PIEMA / c.bartlett@batchellermonkhouse.com / 07714 269923

Read the Position Statement HERE.