Strong demand for land in Stodmarsh and wider Stour Catchment
Following publication of Natural England Guidance on ‘Nutrient Neutrality’ for new residential development, the L&F farm and land sales team have seen a significant increase in demand from developers looking for land for off-site mitigation.
Stodmarsh in Kent is an internationally recognised site, classified and protected as a Special Protection Area, a Ramsar Site, Special Area of Conservation, Site of Special Scientific Interest and a National Nature Reserve. Rules have therefore been introduced to consider whether any new development within the wider Stour Catchment could be contributing to nutrient levels by way of surface water drainage.
In cases where developers are unable to demonstrate ‘Nutrient Neutrality’ in their proposed development scheme, they are required to seek alternative land which can be used to off-set their development site’s impact. Developers have contacted the Farm and Lands Sales Team seeking land of between 5 and 50 acres within the Stour catchment. Land which adjoins a water source such as a stream or river is ideal, as this best enables developers to show that by changing management practices to create new wetland habitats, they are making a positive contribution to nutrient pollution in the rivers system. As this off-setting is essential to delivering new development sites, land can be worth two or even three times agricultural value if sold for nutrient off-setting.