WHILST it is welcome news that a package of measures has been announced by Government (which I was involved with when Environment Minister) to tackle nutrient pollution and unlock stalled planning permissions, a recent discussion with developers in the area is highlighting that little movement is occurring.

There are three actions Government has instigated: obliging the upgrade of water treatment works in nutrient neutrality areas, like the Somerset Levels; a strategic mitigation scheme (largely overseen by Natural England, which also operate the nutrient credits calculator so that developers can work out how much offsetting and mitigation is required for their houses); and clarifying the application of Habitat Regulations assessments for post-permission approvals.

The ball is now largely in the court of local planning authorities like Somerset West and Taunton, and they need to have the confidence to use the new guidance and start to progress planning permissions with appropriate mitigations to counter the environmental impact of each proposed housing development.

The authority has been awarded £100,000 to employ an advisor to help. Mitigations range from on or off-site orchards, wetlands, and woodlands.

I urge our local council to engage on this as the knock-on impact of stalled permissions is having a serious effect on the local building and construction industry. On a completely different matter, I’ve been pushing hard on the dire state of the dental sector, with so many constituents unable to access dental care.

I’ve met with the Health Minister and had constant discussions subsequently and at last some progress in being made. NHS England has announced a range of reforms including measures to help ensure high-performing NHS practices can increase capacity and allow more patients to be seen.

Full details of the reforms can be found here

Whilst this is a welcome first step there remains much more to do, and I will continue to press on this.

Finally, the process is underway to elect the next leader of the Conservative Party who of course will become our Prime Minister.

I am supporting former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, to see my statement which sets out the reasons why please see my website

Written by MP Rebecca Pow