Phosphates crisis: How the ‘Dutch case’ is stifling housebuilding in England

A council has been forced to delay planning decisions for more than 1,000 homes due to excess phosphate levels in a protected area. James Agyepong-Parsons looks at how an EU ruling known as the 'Dutch case' is impacting development proposals in England.

In July, wildlife regulator Natural England notified Herefordshire Council that it had updated its legal advice and would no longer be able to support planning applications that could detrimentally affect the River Lugg catchment – a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and part of the EU-designated River Wye Special Area of Conservation (SAC) – unless it was certain that the level of phosphates in the river could be brought into compliance.

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