Housing: Construction

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities written question – answered on 21st June 2022.

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Photo of Mike Amesbury Mike Amesbury Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment his Department has made of the impact the Habitats Directive on local authorities' house building programmes; and what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on (a) reducing pollution and (b) cleaning rivers to help facilitate local authorities' house building programmes.

Photo of Stuart Andrew Stuart Andrew Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Minister for Housing)

We are aware meeting the requirements of the Habitats Regulations is impacting on development in some areas and my department and DEFRA continue to work across government to identify the range of solutions in the short, medium and long term. There is a package of support in place to enable local authorities affected by nutrient pollution to meet the requirements of the Habitats Regulations. This includes tools to help local authorities understand nutrient neutrality, ongoing practical support and funding to enable affected areas to respond to the challenges of nutrient pollution in a partnership approach.

Government is working with the water industry and regulators to ensure that considerable investment is directed at reducing nutrient pollution from wastewater. From 2020 to 2025, water companies are investing £2.5 billion in measures that reduce nutrient pollution. We are also taking action to support farmers to go further to reduce agricultural pollution and deliver for nature.

DEFRA have launched the Environment Act 2021 environmental targets consultation. This includes proposals for legally binding long-term targets to directly address pollution in the water environment from agriculture and wastewater. This includes reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment contribution from agriculture in the water environment by at least 40% by 2037 (against a 2018 baseline) and reducing phosphorus loadings from treated wastewater by 80% by 2037 (against a 2020 baseline).

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