Chloe Smith
MP for Norwich North

Unblocking Dreams and Rebuilding Communities: A Path Forward for Homeownership and Environment

Author: Chloe Smith, Updated: 29 August 2023 13:33

Conservatives have always understood and supported people’s desire to own their own homes and we want to make sure thousands more fulfil their dreams of home ownership. 


But for many people in Norwich North that dream has been blocked by defective EU legacy laws.


Rules known as “nutrient neutrality” have meant a moratorium on building new homes in much of Norfolk, and across the country from Somerset to Teesside, because old EU regulation says the water that comes from new housing must not add certain nutrients to the nearby environment.  This has meant that thousands of potential new homes, where - for the vast majority - local consent has already been granted, have been held up in planning.  It’s even stopped simple extensions, and high street regeneration too.  In our area, it’s held up vital other construction like new care homes – which we desperately need, to help elderly people live with dignity and leave hospital after treatment. 


The legislation is a blunt weapon which has also coshed the careers of many local young people who might have had jobs and training in the building trade in Norfolk these last few years.  It’s badly affected our local economy.  It’s not right. 


So I support the government taking action to unblock over 100,000 new homes by 2030, delivering an estimated £18 billion boost to the economy, supporting 50,000 jobs, returning control to local areas, and supporting smaller developers who have been disproportionately impacted by these rules.  As a local MP I worked hard, lobbying the government to secure this for Norfolk. 


This plan will not come at the expense of the environment.  New homes will be the greenest ever, and the very small amount of additional nutrient discharge as a result of these new properties will be offset, at minimum, by doubling funding for mitigation schemes to £280 million. 


Of course that comes alongside everything we’re already doing to protect our water environment and tackle pollution, including more investment, stronger regulation and tougher enforcement to bring about the improvements people rightly expect to see.  I welcome the Conservative government also announcing tougher sewage rules for water companies.  


I’ll be backing the necessary work in Parliament to go even further with bespoke plans to restore local environments, more support for farmers to reduce pollution from agriculture and working on a new deal with developers where they will invest in protecting the environment. 


This will give back control to our local communities over the planning process, allow developers to get spades in the ground on blocked construction sites, give opportunities to Norfolk apprentices, and deliver the homes our county and country needs, while making sure we leave the environment in a better state than we found it. 


To find out more about what action I am taking both in Norwich and Westminster for this work, please visit: