Ministers now not expected to bring forward bill in 7 November King’s Speech

The government has reportedly abandoned plans to bring forward fresh legislation to overhaul nutrient pollution laws blamed for holding up 150,000 homes.

According to unconfirmed reports by a number of media outlets including ITV and the Guardian, housing secretary Michael Gove is now not planning to bring forward fresh legislation to tackle the issue.

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Gove told a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference earlier this month that he wanted the rules to be scrapped “at the first available opportunity” and indicated he would bring back a bill to parliament in order to do it.

The current rules require that housing developments in specified areas do not add to pollution of waterways with nutrients such as nitrogen or phosphates.

The government’s original plan was to amend the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to allow housebuilders to effectively ignore evidence of nutrient pollution from housing development sites.

However, this was defeated in the House of Lords in September after Labour peers joined a revolt against the plan.

Parliamentary procedure prohibits further attempts to amend the levelling up bill, so ministers had been eyeing fresh legislation. 

A spokesperson for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing & Communities said the government’s planned amendment “would have would have unlocked 100,000 much needed homes while protecting and improving the environment.”

She said: “We are considering next steps so we can explore how we can unlock the homes we need.”