The Herefordshire Green Network (HGN) and Herefordshire Wildlife Trust (HWT) have been made aware of proposed amendments from Bill Wiggin (MP for North Herefordshire) to the UK Environmental Bill to:
1) In relation to the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations: change the requirements that when planning authorities are making decisions, they “may”, instead of “must” make an appropriate assessment of the implications in view of that site’s conservation objectives
2) In relation to consideration of phosphate levels when making planning decisions: the planning authority “can disregard any impact of the potential build and its long-term consequences on the level of phosphates in the water.”
NB. We have taken this information from the House of Commons Notices of Amendments document here
We are aware that local arrangements to delay planning applications in light of phosphate levels in the Wye are affecting developers (including self-builders and people who want to build very low energy homes) and that this is having a negative impact on people and businesses in Herefordshire.
However, Herefordshire Council has declared an ecological crisis and there is a growing public outcry about the devastating impact of phosphates on the rivers of the Wye catchment from conservation organizations; regulatory organisations and the public in Herefordshire. We have also been given assurances by government that there will be no weakening of environmental protection post Brexit and yet these amendments would inevitably lead to that.
HGN and HWT are looking at how we may facilitate a Zoom discussion with Mr Wiggins to give him the opportunity to discuss why he feels that these amendments are needed.
We are interested in responses from all groups concerned with this in order to understand their positions. Please send your comments to HGN at email@example.com or Andrew Nixon at HWT firstname.lastname@example.org
We will post further updates in the HGN newsletter when we have them.