The government has agreed to invest £3.9m scheme to protect wildlife in the Solent in a bid to unlock housing in the area.
Under the scheme, the government will invest £3.9m in an online ‘nitrate trading’ auction platform.
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.
These include excessive growth of green algae which smothers and damages rare habitats and wildlife, including the Solent’s internationally protected estuaries, salt marshes and seagrass beds, as well as protected birds including curlews.
The platform will allow housing developers to buy credits to create new habitats such as meadows, woodlands and wetlands.
This will also provide more outside spaces as part of government ambitions for a green, nature-based recovery from coronavirus.
A new nature reserve at Warblington Farm, which opened last week, will also be funded through the credits which housing developers purchase.
The new farm will help remove nitrates and in turn reduce pollution impacts on the Solent.
‘This innovative new scheme that Natural England has helped design will not only help nature’s recovery in the area, but also address the historic demand for new housing around the Solent,’ said Natural England chair, Tony Juniper.
‘It is but one example of how it is possible to find solutions to apparently intractable challenges, and to fund them, meaning that we can build more homes while at the same time protect and enhance the rich and varied wildlife of this unique area.
‘It also reveals how it is possible to harness regulation in a positive way, to create incentives for the recovery of the local natural environment, in turn benefiting people living in the area,’ he added.
Housing minister Christopher Pincher added: ‘This innovative project will deliver new homes while protecting and enhancing our natural environment for today, and for future generations.’
Photo Credit – 12019 (Pixabay)