The deadlock stopping 16,000 homes in Norfolk being built could be close to being broken - with millions of pounds made available to get construction started again.

Norfolk has been awarded £9.6m to overcome the nutrient neutrality issue which left thousands of homes in limbo - and tradespeople on the brink of bankruptcy.

Council leaders, who have been unable to grant planning permission for housing schemes, hailed the boost.

Eastern Daily Press: Broadland District Council leader Sue HollandBroadland District Council leader Sue Holland (Image: Sue Holland)

Sue Holland, Liberal Democrat leader of Broadland District Council, said: "Nutrient neutrality has been a huge challenge over the last two years, and I would like to commend the government for its support in helping find a solution.

"This fund will help get people back to work, especially the smaller to medium-sized developer and unlock the much-needed housing growth in Norfolk."


In March 2022, councils were told by government advisors Natural England they could not permit housing applications within catchment areas of the River Wensum and the Broads because of concerns nutrients created by development could go into waterways and harm species.

Eastern Daily Press: The nutrient neutrality rules meant house building stalledThe nutrient neutrality rules meant house building stalled (Image: Mike Page)

READ MORE: How two words left Norfolk's plans for thousands of homes in limbo

Councils were told developments had to prove they would not lead to an increase in phosphate or nutrient run-off. Or, if they would, then measures would be needed to mitigate for that.

It led to claims tradespeople, such as plumbers and electricians, were struggling to get work.


Launched by housing minister Lee Rowley on Thursday (March 16), the Nutrient Mitigation Fund (Norfolk) includes £9.6m from the government's nutrient mitigation pot.

It will loan money to bidders who want to provide mitigation, such as improvements to wastewater works, provision of septic tanks and natural schemes, such as wetland.

Eastern Daily Press: Housing minister Lee RowleyHousing minister Lee Rowley (Image: Press Association)

Mr Rowley said: "Our local nutrient mitigation funding will help unlock new housing and development in catchment areas like Norfolk, supporting councils to build more homes that local communities want and need."

The fund is separate from a joint venture organisation called Norfolk Environmental Credits, which was set up to try to solve the issue.

Eastern Daily Press: A farmer was paid £1m to not use his land to farm the animalsA farmer was paid £1m to not use his land to farm the animals (Image: Denise Bradley)

That has attracted controversy, after it emerged it had paid a farmer almost £1m not to farm pigs on his land, near Caistor St Edmund, to offset pollution from new homes.