Local MP Maria Miller has welcomed the Government’s launch of a new consultation on proposals to help developments achieve Biodiversity Net Gain and become ‘nature positive’, putting nature and biodiversity at the heart of all decision-making and design for new housing and infrastructure developments.
Maria has also been speaking with Government ministers to call for all further steps to be taken to protect water quality levels for rivers like Basingstoke’s River Loddon, such as implementing existing government policy to remove house builders automatic right to connect rainwater drainage to combined sewers.
Maria said, ‘“The natural environment is our most precious resource, which is why the new Environment Act puts environmental principles at the heart of local and national government decision making, which will be particularly important when we consider the new Local Plan for Basingstoke. Mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain is a key part of the new Act and I urge everyone to take part in the consultation to facilitate this work. As a result of this our local planning authority will have to ensure that developments demonstrate a measurable biodiversity net gain of at least 10% above pre-development biodiversity value.
“The Act will also crack down on water companies that discharge untreated sewage water into rivers like the Loddon; our Government is the first in the world to mandate water companies put in place plans to eliminate storm sewage overflows. I am also urging Ministers to remove house builders’ automatic right to connect rainwater drainage to the sewage system. In Basingstoke there is a direct link between heavy rainfall and Thames Water pumping storm sewage overflows into the Loddon. Rainwater doesn't need the same level of treatment as sewage and can be channelled into soakaways, stopping the sewage works from running out of storage space at times of exceptionally heavy rain.”