The Nutrient Neutrality zone in Norfolk covers the River Wensum and Norfolk Broads catchments. This region includes the following Local Planning Authorities (LPAs)
The affected areas in Norfolk cover a number of towns and the city of Norwich. Other notable settlements impacted by Nutrient Neutrality include Dereham, Fakeham, Aylsham, North Walsham, Wymondham and Hoveton
A detailed map of the area is shown below, and we also have mapped all the areas in England and Wales impacted by Nutrient Neutrality.
The River Wensum is impacted by phosphorus, while the Norfolk Broads catchment is impacted by both nitrogen and phosphorus.
The area starts to the north of Great Yarmouth, cutting inland near Paston and snaking through North Norfolk to Stanhoe before cutting southeast to New Buckenham. The boundary then goes east and northeast near Hassingham and South Walsham.
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We would characterise the mitigation market in the catchment as weak due to limited supply of both nitrogen and phosphorus credits. Mitigation is being priced on a per house basis, with the cost of nutrient credits generally being quite high. Typically these are in the region of £5,000 to £10,000 per house.
The area has a variety of levels of nutrient stripping technology at the wastewater treatment works for phosphorus, but no wastewater treatment works have nitrogen stripping technology. New houses currently require between 0.1 kg to 0.89 kg of phosphorus mitigation per house and 2.7 kg of nitrogen. This creates significant opportunities for landowners looking at mitigation schemes.
We forecast demand outstripping supply for at least the next 2 years, despite new schemes coming online (see below).
There are approximately 59 wastewater treatment works in the Nutrient Neutrality area in Norfolk. Over the current upgrade cycle (AMP7), running to 2025:
In order to meet the upgrade requirements that may be brought in under the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, referred to as the ‘TAL upgrades’, 5 treatment works will be upgraded to have both nitrogen and phosphorus removal technologies by 2030. This means 54 treatment works will remain above the most stringent phosphorus and nitrogen removal requirements.
Developments connecting to these treatment works will need more mitigation than those connecting to the 5 treatment works getting TAL upgrades.
As per our research into water treatment upgrades, we do not believe that it is likely that the water companies will be able to deliver all the upgrades in this cycle.
Natural England Strategic Nutrient Mitigation Scheme
The national-scale Natural England Nutrient Mitigation Scheme is likely to look at deploying mitigation solutions within affected areas of Norfolk. These schemes may start to come online at the end of 2023, however exact timelines are unclear. The scheme is focussing on nature-based solutions such as wetlands and catchment management methods.
Norfolk LPAs Nutrient Mitigation Plan
Norfolk LPAs are working together to assess what short- and long-term solutions are available for deployment. The LPAs are looking at nature-based and built solutions. There are not clear delivery timelines for these mitigation schemes.
Wendling Beck Exemplar Project
A collaboration between a group of landowners are reverting a significant area of agricultural land to either semi-natural or regenerative agriculture land uses. This project is primarily being done for biodiversity purposes, but will also provide nutrient mitigation. The scheme will serve both the Wensum and the Broads catchments.
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