Sunak to abandon plans to scrap the nutrient neutrality rules, ITV News understands

Credit: PA

My understanding is that Rishi Sunak has abandoned plans to scrap the nutrient neutrality rules during this parliament.

In other words, they won’t feature in next month’s King’s Speech of legislation for the coming year, because he has been advised the challenge of getting it through parliament unamended is too great.

This will be welcomed by environmental campaigners.

It follows the House of Lords rejection in September of the government’s amendment to the Levelling up and Neutrality bill, that would have scrapped the obligation on house builders to ensure there is no nutrient pollution in areas already suffering from a degree of pollution.

The decision not to proceed, however, creates a big political problem for the Tories, given the cross party recognition there is far too little house building in the UK. If Labour had a big announcement at its conference, it was its promise to build an additional 1.5m houses in the next parliament.

And I was struck at the Tory conference that Kemi Badenoch, one of the cabinet ministers hopeful of being the next party leader, said there was no greater priority than to increase the volume of homes being created. I don’t however detect a cunning plan in Downing Street to find another route to significantly boost house building. But maybe the levelling up and housing secretary Michael Gove has one.

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