Development can continue despite River Lugg pollution concerns

Published January 22nd, 2020

Concerns over Phosphates levels in the River Lugg has put the brakes on property development in north Herefordshire but there is still scope for some projects to go ahead.

The River Lugg is currently failing its conservation targets for phosphate levels as a result of water pollution from sources such as sewage outlets and agricultural run-off. In order to comply with environmental legislation Herefordshire Council and Natural England is having to take a tough line on new development for fear of increasing the problem.

Graham Clark, a planning consultant with Berrys in Hereford, fears that the issue is preventing much needed housing development coming forward in north Herefordshire which is exacerbating the Council’s five-year housing supply shortfall.

“It is still possible to get approval for development projects but they have to pass the council’s strict planning criteria, particularly for waste discharge,” he said.

A positive Appropriate Assessment will enable development to proceed where impacts are neutral ie where avoidance/mitigation measures included in the plan counterbalance any phosphate increase.

Discharges to drainage fields in the determined zone would be unlikely to reach the river, if the following criteria are in place:

  • The drainage field is more than 50m from the designated site boundary or sensitive interest feature and more than 50m from any surface water feature e.g. ditch, drain, watercourse, and;
  • The drainage field in an area with a slope no greater than 15%, and;
  • The drainage field is in an area where the high water table groundwater depth is at least 2m below the surface at all times and;
  • There are no other hydrological pathways which would expediate the transport of phosphorous e.g. fissured geology, flooding, shallow soil.

“At Berrys we have experienced drainage experts and planning consultant in-house who can design a scheme that will meet the criteria for your development project to gain planning approval,” Graham said.

For more information, contact Graham Clark at the Hereford office of Berrys on 01432 809833, email

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More about Graham Clark

Senior Planning Consultant
Tel: 01432 809833
Mobile: 07741 310312

Graham has over 22 years’ experience as a planner since obtaining a degree and post graduate diploma in Town Planning Studies at South Bank University, London. Graham has worked in a variety of planning roles in both the public and private sectors and is a qualified chartered town planner.

Graham has extensive knowledge of the planning system having worked in development management, planning enforcement and regeneration at Westminster City Council and Wolverhampton City Council. He joined Berrys as a planning consultant in September 2014 and is based in the Hereford office.

Graham has successfully dealt with intensive poultry applications, agricultural barn conversions to residential use, anaerobic digestion plants and housing proposals. He is also able to deal with planning appeals and provide advice on S106/CIL requirements.