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Councillors must protect the environment

Havant Borough Council’s (HBC) Operations & Place Shaping Board’s January 28th Meeting focussed on the problems relating to the requirement for nutrient ‘neutrality’ that now delay building developments. Why is this important? An HBC Water Specialist Planning Officer gave a brief explanation of the problem. The nutrients in question result from either natural or human origins and either source affects the time-scale of negative impact on our fresh and sea water systems. The proportions of these origins are approximately: 40% agricultural – nowadays farmers must adhere to “Nitrogen Vulnerability Zones which dictate the quantity & timing of any eg manure that is placed on fields etc.”; 40% coastal background that’s in the water now; 20% urban run-off (eg vehicular oils/fuels) & sewage treatment. HBC’s David Hayward explained how the nutrient issues involved in Planning, Ecology, Economy and Legality each impact on the complex protected status of our local Harbours, land environments together with local businesses and house-building.

Currently a so-called ‘Grampian’ condition requires a developer/applicant to provide a ‘mitigation’ package before building commences: the applicant must provide the means of minimizing or preventing the damage to the environment by eg adverse nutrients. Without this, HBC cannot provide planning permission. Developers may be reluctant to agree to this package because of the costs involved before they commence building. David Hayward explained that if HBC permitted development without a clear position on nutrients, that decision might lead to a Judicial Review with attendant unknown costs to the Council.

The online Planning Portal News recently drew attention to DEFRA's new 'Natural Capital Tool' online resource to "guarantee 'better' environmental decision-making”. You can find it online: then type in DEFRA ENCA in the search bar. At the foot of that page is also a link to BioDiversity. In response to my query re the Council's use of this site in its own planning work, David Hayward, Planning Policy Manager for HBC, emailed me that HBC's PreSubmission Local Plan complies with, amongst other "workstreams", the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Local Nature Partnership for which he passed on this link: He added that HBC still anticipates "there being a need for more guidance to ensure that small scale applications in particular consider ecological impact in the future." It’s important for residents to hold our Councillors to standards that protect our local environment.

HBC recently launched its regeneration strategy to businesses, I understand, at Havant’s Meridian Centre. For full details of this including its impact on Hayling, particularly our western & southern coastlines, go to: HBC website, input ‘Have with Havant’ with further links. Also click on this link’s top image ‘The Vision’ & scroll down to a video for graphic images for eg autonomous vehicles on a renewed bridge: Let your Councillors know your views on what is proposed.

Contact HIRA or drop boxes: Hayling Community Centre, West Town; Morris Dibben, Mengham; The Terracotta Pot and Gift Shop, Eastoke; Library, Elm Grove.

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