COUNCILLORS will block moves for new developments amid fears over nitrate levels in water – despite having government housing targets to meet.
Fareham Borough Council’s executive committee agreed a number of ‘short term measures’ while a ‘long-term solution is found’ in order to protect The Solent.
The interim measures agreed included improving water efficiency in existing council homes, manage agricultural land to reduce fertiliser use and improve wastewater treatment works.
Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant have also halted building work after nitrogen from housing wastewater exacerbated the growth of algae which is damaging protected wildlife habitats and bird species.
The council said it ‘still had a duty to deliver houses and will issue permissions with conditions that any new homes built cannot be occupied until appropriate mitigation has been agreed’.
Councillor Seán Woodward, executive leader of Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘Whilst our number one priority is of course to protect The Solent, the nitrates issue continues to be a real challenge.
‘One side of government is telling us that any new housing will be damaging to the environment whilst another is demanding delivery of thousands of new homes.’
A council spokesman added: ‘This situation is not unique to Fareham. Updated advice issued by Natural England earlier this year is affecting all councils in South Hampshire because of their proximity to The Solent which has a number of internationally important sites.’
Natural England has advised councils to refuse new developments amid concerns over nitrate levels in the water.