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Housing schemes without environmental elements could be blocked

The environment watchdog is preparing to roll out an approach across the country that states new housing is being blocked unless authorities introduce green projects such as ULEZ’s.

Natural England, an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), has commissioned a review of ‘mitigation measures’ to limit emissions with new properties in more than 330 designated areas across the country.

The public body, which is chaired by Tony Juniper, who is the former head of Friends of the Earth, has already been accused of blocking up to 145,000 homes. In our current climate, when people are in dire need of new affordable homes, this decision may not be met with open arms.

Following this, five conservative councils including Bexley, Bromley, Harrow, Hillingdon, and Surrey have challenged the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) expansion at the High Court, claiming it will have a great impact on families and tradespeople who rely on driving.

Although, as it stands, homes are currently responsible for 20% of global emissions and are obstructing the government’s plans of becoming net-zero by 2050.

This new, sustainable approach, which was announced at the beginning of this week, is already taking place in the Epping Forest district of Essex where the local authority has sparked a backlash after drawing up plans to introduce a ULEZ – style clean air zone from 2025.

However, the council stated it was advised by Natural England that it wouldn’t be able to approve developments unless it also introduced clear measures to tackle air pollution, the Telegraph originally reported.

Tony Juniper said: ‘We simply cannot halt and reverse the decline in nature or improve the quality of our environment – as the government has legally committed itself to do and is rightly demanded by the public – if we don’t mitigate the impact of pollution sources.’

Against this backdrop, DEFRA is reportedly set to examine potential mitigation schemes for developments at more than 330 so-called Nautura 2000 sites which are protected by regulations originally introduced by the EU – they include the New Forest and Rochdale Canal in Greater Manchester.

Image: Daria Nepriakhina 

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