Phosphate levels in River Lugg could cost building industry millions of pounds (From Hereford Times)
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Phosphate levels in River Lugg could cost building industry millions of pounds
A LEADING Herefordshire housebuilder says the knock-on effect of high phosphate levels in a county river could see the industry lose millions of pounds.
Border Oak says it was “utterly shocked” after being told planning applications had been suspended along the course of the River Lugg because of increasing levels of the nutrient.
The cause of the issue has not yet been identified but the Kingsland-based firm believes intensive chicken farming could be to blame.
“Herefordshire is a sparsely populated county with building and development at a virtual standstill, so the recent spike in phosphate levels surely cannot be linked to domestic waste,” said Merry Albright from Border Oak.
“Evidence suggests that the huge increase in intensive chicken farming over the past 12 months is a more likely source of these phosphate increase.”
Last month the Hereford Times reported that levels of the nutrient in the River Lugg were too high, raising the possibility of having an adverse affect on wildlife.
“Planning approval is very hard to obtain in Herefordshire and although I sympathise with the planning office, which has a complicated job to do, this decision will ultimately cost Herefordshire millions in investment and put hundreds of jobs at risk,” added Merry.
“It is no surprise that people don’t want to build or invest in Herefordshire. There are too many hurdles and a fundamental lack of support.”
In a statement, Herefordshire Council said any new developments along the River Lugg will have to demonstrate that phosphate levels will not be increased.
Councillor Russell Hamilton, cabinet member for environment, housing and planning, said the authority is working with “the relevant agencies and the development industry” to resolve the issue.
He added that individual developers and applicants will receive updates from planning officers.