In a world-first, the council is in the process of creating a number of Integrated Wetlands specifically for the purpose of removing phosphates before they reach our rivers, which will enable the damaging ban on development in a large area of the county to be lifted. The wetlands will create ‘Phosphate Mitigation Credits’ for developers to use.

The new Phosphate Credit Trading system enables developers to buy credits generated by the reduced pollution from operation of the wetlands. This will mitigate the phosphate generated by new developments. In this way it is possible to ensure that the overall effect of new development is what’s called ‘nutrient neutral’ 

The Wetlands are not just about helping new development. Twenty percent of the reduction has been reserved for river betterment. The Council still expects all polluters to meet their fair share of reductions and is working with statutory partners and the agricultural industry for the right tools and regulatory arrangements to enable this to happen.

The development of 8 new self-build homes to the West of the B4361, Luston, was submitted by the award-winning local construction company, Border Oak, and will be the first such ‘credit-based’ approval.

As well as being nutrient neutral, the development will be built from natural, low carbon materials, and have super high insulation values, with additional water conservation and efficiency measures. Air source heat pumps, underfloor heating and electric charging facilities will also be provided. The project also includes a new native orchard, made up of locally historic varieties of fruit trees, the provision of additional habitat features including native hedges, new trees, wide grass verges and wild spaces – designed to support wildlife and integrate the scheme into its edge of village location.

Merry Albright, Creative Director at Border Oak, said:“Border Oak are thrilled to be the first scheme to pay for the wetland credits and are very proud of the local construction industry who have always been willing to pay for the wetlands in their entirety. We are also delighted to support a nature based solution that delivers wider ecological benefits for biodiversity and carbon and thank all those who worked on this proposal over many years.

“We support the council’s work to find more meaningful actions to reverse the failing catchment by tackling the larger sources of pollution but appreciate the release of some housing while this work takes place.”

The Cabinet Commission for the Restoration of the Wye is also continuing to work closely with neighbouring counties and partner organisations to help develop a long term plan to reduce nutrient pollution and restore the county’s rivers.