Bloomberg — The British government has pledged to scrap environmental rules protecting waterways inherited from the European Union in a bid to boost housing construction.
Ministers will reform ‘food neutrality’ rules that prevent builders from developing in areas where water polluted from soil has left the water in poor condition.the Department for Equality, Housing and Communities said Tuesday in a statement confirming the Bloomberg article from last month.
“These laws coming from Brussels prevent the construction of new homes in certain areas,” the government said in the statement. Following the planned changes, “it is expected that developers will be able to start building these homes within months.”
The Conservatives, led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, are trying to boost house building rates, which are currently failing to keep up with rising demand, giving the Labor opposition an electoral advantage. The government said Tuesday’s decision would open the way for 100,000 new homes to be built that have been held back by regulations. But the decision to cancel it, which was presented by the government as an advantage of Britain’s exit from the European Union, It will only heighten fears that Sunak will back away from green measures.
The Conservative government has already backed away from plans to force landlords to self-isolate and has opposed traffic easing measures since London’s sprawling ultra-low emissions zone became an election surprise for Labor, the main opposition party, last month. Dumping of sewage into the sea and rivers by private companies has also become a political deterrent.
Craig Bennett, chief executive of Wildlife Trusts, said on social media platform X, previously Twitter, that removing the EU rule would only make Britain’s waterways dirtier.
A 2018 European Court of Justice ruling declares it illegal to release nutrients (such as nitrates and phosphates found in wastewater or sewage) into protected spaces that are already in “unfavorable” conditions.. The builders claim Natural England, the public body charged with protecting the environment, is using the rule to block development.
The Federation of Home Builders claimed the EU rule could cost £25,000 (US$31,520) per house in sanitation and prevented 120,000 homes from being built. Last month, the government promised to fulfill its commitment in its manifesto to build one million homes during this parliament.
The government will have to amend its settlement bill to move forward with the changes. He said that although food entering Britain’s rivers was “a real problem”, the contribution of new housing was “very small”.
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