Conservative leadership front-runner promises to cut planning rules blamed for holding up 100,000 homes

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Tory leadership front-runner Liz Truss has pledged to ditch nutrient neutrality rules if she becomes prime minister in September.

If the South West Norfolk MP manages to abolish the policy this could allow the development of around 100,000 homes the HBF claims it is stalling to be progressed.

“We would remove Brussels red tape, such as nutrient neutrality, that has stalled housing projects without delivering on what it is designed to address,” her campaign team confirmed in a statement to Housing Today. 

In total 74 councils are now affected by the environmental requirement, made after a European Court of Justice ruling in 2018. 

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Liz Truss has promised to ditch nutrient neutrality rules if made leader

Councils affected by the issue are unable to give planning permission to developments that could result in an increase in phosphate and nitrate levels in watercourses above current levels. 

See also >> The nutrient neutrality “fix” won’t break the development deadlock

See also >> How do we stop the nutrient nutrality problem holding up development?

Truss’ leadership campaign team also told Housing Today: “Our current system of planning is too bureaucratic, too slow, and too complex. We would reform the planning system and cut red tape that prevents local communities from building the houses they want.”

However, the foreign secretary has also said she would scrap “Stalinist” central housing policies, which would mean moving away from her party’s 2019 manifesto pledge of 300,000 new homes for England a year by the mid-2020s. 

Housing Today is calling for the government to recommit to this target through its Fair Deal for Housing campaign. 

The government unveiled a package of measures to help the construction of homes caught up by the nutrient neutrality rules to go ahead in July. But the Home Builders Federation (HBF) said the proposals did “not match the scale or urgency of the issue”.

A Fair Deal for Housing 

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Housing Today believes the government should not back away from its manifesto pledge of building 300,000 new homes a year by the middle of the decade. We badly need more homes, and a lack of supply is a major factor in creating problems of affordability for both buyers and renters.

Over the next few months, Housing Today  will be exploring potential solutions to help us ramp up housebuilding to 300,000. These are likely to include different ways of working, funding asks of government and policy ideas that could boost housebuilding.

We want to hear from you: what do you think can make a difference at a policy level?

What can the industry do better?

We believe that, with the right commitments from ministers and the industry, it is possible to build more homes and help the government to meet its objectives to “build beautiful”, improve quality and safety, boost home ownership and level up the UK.

Click here to find out more about the campaign