SIR: I noted with interest the letters from Brian Adey in your papers from July 2 and July 16 around the scheme that TVBC has devised alongside Roke Manor Ltd to ensure nitrate neutrality for future building developments.

I realise that even the above sentence is a bit wordy, and though we’ve tried our best to explain the scheme in as simple a way as possible, I thought I’d respond to some of your questions, Brian, and try to clear things up!

The background, of course, is that now, new planning applicants for homes have to achieve nutrient neutrality, so not to cause additional impact on habitats in the Solent, which is where wastewater flows from Test Valley, as well as other areas in Hampshire. If an application cannot show itself to be ‘nitrate neutral’, then the increase in this nitrates need to be balanced out by reducing nitrates elsewhere, within the same river catchment area. (This isn’t something dictated by the council, it’s been brought about by a court ruling elsewhere which has impacted how public bodies must deal with their environmental commitments).

So, to enable planning applications and developments to continue the council has purchased credits from Roke Manor Ltd. Previously, the land would have been used for agriculture or other uses that had been generating nitrates. Therefore, by ceasing agricultural use , the generation of these nitrates, stops, balancing out the nitrates created by some applications. To answer one of your questions directly, legal agreements ensure this reduction is secured and continues for 80 years, with the land managed in line with an agreed management plan.

The credits allow use to measure the amount of nitrates that have now ceased, compared to the number generated by granted planning permissions. So, 1kg of nitrates stopped from the land at Roke Manor (among other places) equals one credit. For example, if a planning application says its development will create 10kg of nitrates, then they are allocated ten credits.

To address another point, the council, and taxpayer, is not out of pocket. This is because the applicant, or developer, pays the council for the credits.

If you would like a bit more information not restricted to a letter that the Romsey Advertiser has kindly printed, then do please email me directly.


Cllr Nick Adams-King,

Stanbridge Earls,