Body reacts to reports that new bill promised by Michael Gove to solve hiatus has been shelved.

The Home Builders Federation has hit out at the government following reports that Michael Gove’s promised legislation to resolve the nutrient pollution impasse has now been shelved.

The HBF said it was a “damning indictment” that politicians have still not found a solution to the problem, which the housebuilding body says is holding up 150,000 homes.


An impasse over nutrient neutrality rules is holding up 150,000 homes, the HBF says

A spokesperson said: “Banning new homes does absolutely nothing to improve the shocking state of our rivers, polluted by agricultural run-off and as a result the failings of water companies.

“Any continuation of this political failure means more homes delayed, more people on waiting lists, more families unable to access decent housing, more jobs lost, more businesses damaged.”

The housing secretary told a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference earlier this month that he wanted the rules to be scrapped “at the first available opportunity” and indicated he would bring back a bill to parliament in order to do it.

The current rules require that housing developments in specified areas do not add to pollution of waterways with nutrients such as nitrogen or phosphates.

However, the government is now reportedly not planning on including a bill in the King’s Speech on 7 November.

The government’s original plan was to amend the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to allow housebuilders to effectively ignore evidence of nutrient pollution from housing development sites.

However, this was defeated in the House of Lords in September after Labour peers joined a revolt against the plan. Parliamentary procedure prevents the government from trying to amend legislation again.

A spokesperson for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing & Communities last week said it is “considering next steps so we can explore how we can unlock the homes we need”.