An innovative Herefordshire environmental scheme to restart building in the county has won a national award.

The county saw off competition from six other local authorities to take the Environmental Services gong at the LGC Awards, held in central London on Wednesday June 12.

This was for its integrated wetland project at Luston waste water treatment works north of Leominster, the first of several in the county, which is enabling building projects blocked under environmental regulations to restart.


The scheme is funded by “phosphate credits” bought by developers in proportion to the size of building projects and likely water pollution they will give rise to, enabling them to show overall “nutrient neutrality”.

According to the award’s organisers, the Luston project has also brought “a significant increase in biodiversity, and acts as a carbon sink”.

Meanwhile data and knowledge gained from the scheme “is being shared to inform the creation of wetlands across the country”, they said.

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Calling it “the undeniable winner”, the judges described it as “a ground-breaking initiative that tackles the critical issue of nutrient pollution and its economic repercussions [and] paves the way for positive change on a larger scale”.

A large new 350-home estate east of Leominster, stalled for five years, is the latest development to be enabled through the Luston scheme.

The council’s chief executive Paul Walker and cabinet member for environment Elissa Swinglehurst accepted the award from TV actor Will Mellor at the event.

Coun Swinglehurst said it was “a thrilling moment” when Herefordshire was announced as winner, “in front of a huge room full of people”.


“The beauty of a nature-based solution is the benefits – phosphate reduction, biodiversity, carbon sequestration – increase all the time,” she added.

“They are self-funding and can be replicated, so we will see a lot more of them.”

Already the council is moving forward with two more integrated wetlands at Tarrington and Titley, with more under consideration.