Nitrates crisis: Councils urge Villiers to tighten up water company permits

A group of councils in south Hampshire are urging the environment secretary to formally review and tighten up a water firm’s environmental permits in a bid to reduce nitrate pollution and end a five-month housing freeze.

The 12 local authorities, collectively represented as the Partnership for South Hampshire (PfSH), wrote to the environment secretary Theresa Villiers last week to demand a formal review of the nitrate limits allowed at Southern Water’s inland sewerage treatment works.

Since June, councils in South Hampshire have been dealing with a planning freeze due to updated legal advice from Natural England, which said that new developments in the Solent region – home to EU legally protected sites – should only be permitted if they are nutrient-neutral, particularly in relation to nitrates. 

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