Recently, I have heard from a number of constituents, businesses and statutory agencies, including Wrexham Council’s Housing team, about issues they have encountered in the planning process when undertaking building renovations and developments. These issues have resulted from the recently introduced new Welsh Government guidance on phosphate levels in special areas of conservation (SAC) across Wales.
I understand that the Welsh Government has, in a laudable attempt to protect rivers from the excessive release of phosphates into the water course, regulated that additional certification is required to meet new targets. However, the process of gaining this certification is currently unknown, leaving local authorities unable to determine some planning applications in SAC areas.
In Wrexham, this has detrimentally impacted several significant projects, such as the supported living development Tŷ Nos. In addition, this has also impacted home renovations, including examples where renovations are vitally important to allow for improved disabled access, housing developments of various sizes, and the expansion of school and medical facilities. It may also impact on the finalisation of Wrexham Council’s pending Local Development Plan.
As such, I have written to the Welsh Government Minister for Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths MS, about the new guidance to ascertain what steps the Welsh Government is taking to make sure that planned developments can go ahead without being slowed by this lack of information.
Read the full letter to the Welsh Government Minister for Rural Affairs below: