Agenda item

Creation of phosphate credits to offset development in the River Tone sub catchment.


The purpose of the report was to update members on the creation of P credits to offset development in the River Tone sub catchment area.


During discussion of this item the following comments/queries were raised



·       Did the Council have any plans to retro fit any other Council owned buildings and whether this would feed into the unitary authority in due course;

·       Concerns that various proposed schemes on agricultural land with a 1-year lease agreement with farmers created a risk and not a lot of flexibility;

·       Concerns with the lack of liaison between the Rivers Authority and Somerset County Council;

·       Concerns that small developers were not taking up the ‘P’ credit scheme;

·       Concerns with the impact on the viability of Social Housing;

·       Concerns with the excess phosphates on land, and how they were to be removed;

·       Were we confident that all of the accountable authorities and service providers were using the same numbers and parameters in their algorithms;

·       Apprehensions with which forums were taking place to communicate and update the farming community as most were not on topic with the situation;

·       Concerns with the timing of delivery of the ‘p’ credits the scheduling of the 65.3 kilos, how much was going to be available and when;

·       Concerns that in terms of the nations capacity to provide many solutions to require land. Would agricultural food production still be sustainable?;

·       Information should be sent out to the public on phosphate free household products;

·       The government should have spent money years ago on filtering out phosphates from our waterways;

·       Would the cessation of peat harvesting on the Levels help the phosphate issue due to it being less permeable?;


The Chair proposed and Councillor Blaker seconded a motion for the Phosphates Planning Sub Committee to:


a. Note the number of P credits being generated through the interim

measures. Based upon the contents of Appendix A and the supporting

Habitats Regulation Assessment, (Appendix C), 65.3 P credits for the River Tone sub catchment are being generated at a total estimated

cost to the Council of circa £3,54m;


b. Agree the pricing of one P credit for the River Tone sub

catchment area at £54,222 + VAT per kilogram of offset required

per year;


c. In line with the Council’s charging policy, to recharge the cost of

P credits on a full cost recovery basis;


d. Note that the principle the Council’s interim programme of phosphate

mitigation measures has Natural England support (see Natural England

letter dated 6 June 2022 enclosed as Appendix D);


e. Note, continue with all further necessary preparations to enable the use

of P credits to provide the required mitigation and support the

determination of some planning applications held in abeyance for the

River Tone sub catchment;


f. Note, that the Local Planning Authority (LPA) will use the P Credit

Allocation Procedure as agreed by this Phosphates Planning Sub

Committee in February 2022;


g. Agree that, where a developer has purchased P credits (or tenths

of P credits), and the planning permission lapses or a developer

chooses not to proceed to build, all unused P credits (and tenths

of a P credit) will be forfeited, and the fee paid for them returned

to the developer less the 10 % deposit and less an administration

fee (as part of the Section 106 Agreement process);


h. Delegate to the Assistant Director Strategic Place and Planning in

consultation with the Chair of the Phosphates Planning Sub

Committee, minor clarifications, and amendments to processes

which govern the release, monitoring, and pricing of P credits and

the subsequent determination of planning applications for the

River Tone sub catchment;


i. To review the price of P credits for the interim measures by April

2026, based on actual final build and three full years of actual

operating costs.


The motion was carried.

Supporting documents: