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Phosphates and Nutrient Neutrality

Natural England has issued advice to the Council where Habitats Sites are in an unfavourable conservation status and additional nutrient loads, such as from development, may have an adverse effect. This advises that planning applications and plans affecting habitats sites in an unfavourable condition should be carefully considered and mitigation should be used to ensure there are no adverse effects in order to meet the requirements of the Conservation of Species and Habitats Regulations 2017 (as amended).

For planning applications in the Somerset Levels and Moors Ramsar Site catchment and the River Axe Special Area of Conservation catchment, this means the Council needs to consider the possibility of adverse effects, as a result of additional nutrient loads (including from residential developments); as part of a Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA).

Further information relating to the River Axe Special Area of Conservation and the Somerset Levels and Moors Ramsar Site, which are both in in unfavourable condition as a result of excess phosphates can be found below.