Solent Nutrient Market

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Solent Nutrient Market Update (30 March 2023)

Solent Nutrient Market Pilot Ends 31 March 2023

Nutrient pollution is an urgent and long-term problem for freshwater habitats and estuaries including internationally important and protected sites in the Solent. Due to the pressures of nutrient pollution on these protected sites Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) in the Solent catchment have been advised by Natural England that new housing development may be legally required to fully mitigate the additional nutrient pollution that it would cause. Developers can demonstrate this through nutrient neutrality. More details on nutrient neutrality are available at GOV.UK.

The government wants to help LPAs and developers in the Solent and other affected catchments to deliver nutrient neutrality as quickly and affordably as possible. Since September 2020 Defra has been working with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Natural England, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, and Partnership for South Hampshire (PfSH) on the Solent Nutrient Market Pilot. This innovative Shared Outcomes Fund pilot was designed to help enable new housing developments to demonstrate nutrient neutrality and avoid additional harm to protected sites in the Solent area. The EnTrade Consortium* were commissioned in September 2021 to develop and run the nutrient trading market.

The pilot is now ending as planned on 31 March 2023. It has provided valuable insights into the delivery of mitigation projects, successful engagement with farmers, landowners, and local authorities, modelling and mapping, and the design of market mechanisms for trading nutrient credits. Learning from this pilot has been applied to the national Nutrient Mitigation Scheme (NMS) led by Natural England. The government also welcomes EnTrade’s intention to run the Nutrient Credit Market to make nutrient credits and Biodiversity Units available for sale to developers in the Solent later this year. More information can be found at Solent Nutrient Market Pilot.

EnTrade will join several other private nutrient mitigation schemes that plan to facilitate nutrient mitigation in the Solent. The Government welcomes EnTrade’s participation in this market and is grateful for their contribution to our shared objectives for environmental protection and nature’s recovery through this pilot. Natural England will continue to provide assurance that all nutrient mitigation schemes provide sufficient certainty in terms of environmental outcomes.

*The Consortium led by EnTrade brings together a team of experts in market design and operation, environmental land management, landowner engagement and communications: The University of Exeter, Arcadian, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Wheatley Young Partners and Arup.


About the Solent Nutrient Market Pilot (December 2021)

The Solent area, like several other water catchments in England, is suffering from excess nutrient pollution, which is having adverse impacts on our internationally important wildlife habitats. This has led to challenges for new housing development as Natural England has advised that such developments should demonstrate ‘nutrient neutrality’; i.e. zero net impact by nitrogen pollution on the protected sites.

The Solent Nutrient Market Pilot is testing the use of an online nutrient trading platform to:

  • support landowners to make long-term land-use changes in the Test and Itchen Catchment that reduce nitrogen pollution and deliver wider environmental benefits; and
  • enable new developments to meet the requirement to deliver nutrient neutrality on protected sites.

The design and development of the trading process and platform (previously referred to as the Solent Trading Platform) is being funded by Defra.

Find out more about the Solent Catchment Market.

The latest update on the progress of the Solent Nutrient Market Pilot (December 2021) is attached below:

Solent Nutrient Market Update December 2021