Organisations in the Solent region have united to ensure environmental concerns don't limit potential development in the area.
Southern Water and Natural England have joined with a group of local councils and the Environment Agency to look at short and long-term solutions to reduce the amount of nitrates being released into the Solent.
The move follows Natural England highlighting an issue with nitrates to councils' planning departments, meaning some have been unable to grant planning permission for new developments.
Interim growth planning manager at Southern Water, Philip James, said: "The key, we believe, is to try to mitigate and reduce the artificial nitrates entering the natural water system from agricultural practices. We have schemes running with farmers in the South Downs and West Hampshire that are proving effective and we want to continue to work closely with PUSH to make use of best practices."
The work is being co-ordinated through the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH), which brings local councils and other partners together with a focus on sustainable growth in the area. This collective response is expected to find a solution that meets environmental requirements while allowing the region to achieve its aims with future developments.
Cllr Seán Woodward, chairman of PUSH, said: "This is a serious environmental issue that needs to be addressed but there are consequences to stopping all development in our region. I'm delighted that all these different organisations are working together to find a way forward that will benefit everyone and we're hopeful there may be funding available to assist with this from sources such as the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership."
Plans being worked on include short-term solutions to address the immediate issue and ensure councils can grant new planning permissions w, as well as longer-term strategies to reduce the amount of nitrates entering the Solent region to a level which allows the important and sensitive wildlife of the Solent to flourish.
Andrew Smith, Natural England’s Area Manager for Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight said: “Natural England’s role is to work closely with developers and councils, helping to create better places for people and wildlife. We are pleased to join the partnership. Together, we can find both short and long term solutions for sustainable development, which benefits both the local economy and the environment.”
Plans will be presented to the PUSH joint committee on 31st July 2019 and where possible the partners will begin work ahead of this.