Defra and Natural England Launch New Nitrate Offset Scheme

Defra has announced a new £3.9 million scheme which will unblock house building in south Hampshire by offsetting nitrogen impacts.

The project aims to set up an online ‘nitrate trading’ auction platform. Through this, housing developers will buy credits to create new habitats such as meadows, woodlands and wetlands – which will prevent harmful levels of nitrates from new housing from reaching the Solent’s rare wildlife and habitats.

Housing growth has stalled in the Solent area for over a year due to concerns that nitrates were causing a range of negative environmental effects including excessive algal growth.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:

I am thrilled to announce this funding which uses nature-based solutions to alleviate the housing pressure in the local area. Not only will this innovative scheme unlock thousands of much-needed homes for the local area, but it will provide habitat rich areas for wildlife in a true win-win.

As the nation recovers from coronavirus, it’s more vital than ever that we build back greener, and this project will also help people connect with nature by providing more green spaces for them to enjoy.

Natural England advised on suitable sites for the scheme which will be rolled out over the next two years.