Anglers Against Pollution

Government defeated on plans to relax river pollution building rules

The House of Lords has thrown out the government’s plans to encourage housebuilding in England by relaxing restrictions on water pollution, including scrapping nutrient neutrality rules.

Ministers believed up to 100,000 new homes could be built by 2030 if water pollution regulations were relaxed, but the Angling Trust and wildlife and environmental groups said the move would mean more pollution of our most important freshwater and coastal sites.

Stuart Singleton-White, Head of Campaigns at the Angling Trust, said:

“After a concerted effort by the Angling Trust and many wildlife groups, the House of Lords voted down the government’s attempts to remove the rules protecting our most important river and coastal areas, known as the nutrient neutrality rules. This is a welcome move, but may not be the end of the story. The government are likely to look for other ways to bring this issue back. This would be a mistake. Instead, the government should be sitting down with groups like the Angling Trust and look seriously at how they can do more to prevent pollution and clear up our rivers and coastal waters.”

The defeat in the House of Lords comes in the same week as the Office for Environmental Protection identified possible failures to comply with environmental law by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Environment Agency (EA) and Ofwat in relation to the regulation of combined sewer overflows (CSOs).

And recent freedom of information requests from the campaigning group WASP has shown that the Environment Agency have been failing to carry out regulator audits of the self-reporting regime where water companies monitor and report on the performance of their sewage treatment works.

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