Natural England creates nutrient neutrality scheme in Dorset

Natural England creates nutrient neutrality scheme in Dorset

Following the Government’s failed attempt to change the law, on which we reported here, the latest announcement from Natural England is that, in partnership with the Dorset Wildlife Trust, it has purchased Lyscombe Farm, an 827 acre chalk downland farm in Dorset, to create a new nutrient mitigation credit scheme.

It is said that the scheme will include a change of land management to reduce agricultural inputs, while creating new wetland areas to capture nutrients and reduce the amount of nutrient pollution entering the waterways, enabling approximately 3,700 new homes to be built in the Poole Harbour Catchment. Natural England will offer credits for sale to developers through its Nutrient Mitigation Scheme in the coming months.

Poole Harbour has an issue with both nitrogen and phosphate nutrient pollution and, based on a number of assumptions, including the cost of purchasing nutrient credits from other parts of the country, it is quite possible that the purchase of Lyscombe Farm will pay for itself many times over.

Whether, as a matter of principle, this is an appropriate use of public funds is an interesting debate for another day.

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