Development in Dover no longer affected by Natural England's advice on water quality


Housing developments in the Dover district can be given the go ahead again after a study found new developments do not have a significant impact on the water quality of Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve. 

Planning applications which have been on hold can now be determined as usual by Dover District Council. 

In July 2020, Natural England issued guidance which applied to planning applications for new developments which would connect to the Dambridge wastewater treatment works, which discharges into the Stour Valley and Stodmarsh catchment. 

The Natural England guidance was issued due to concerns about poor water quality at Stodmarsh and the effect that additional nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) from new developments may have on the designated site. 

The advice meant mitigation needed to be identified and assessments had to be carried out before any planning applications for new housing which would discharge into the catchment area could be approved. 

However, following completion of hydrological connectivity and water quality modelling work – and a subsequent review by Natural England - DDC has demonstrated that any additional nutrients reaching Stodmarsh as a result of new connections to Dambridge would not have a significant effect. This is either alone or in combination with other plans or projects. 

Natural England has confirmed it will be formally updating its advice on the Stodmarsh catchment in due course. 

Cllr Nicholas Kenton, cabinet member for planning and environment, said: “This is welcome news for the Dover district and provides reassurance that new development is not having an adverse impact on the internationally important Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve. 

“This will in turn help kickstart growth and the delivery of much-needed homes across the district.” 

Notes to Editors: 

About Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve 

Stodmarsh lies east of Canterbury and is a Special Protection Area (SPA), RAMSAR site, Special Area of Conservation (SAC), and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and parts are a National Nature Reserve (NNR).  

It is a site of national and international importance for a range of water dependent habitats and wildlife that relies upon them. 

What happens next 

DDC will seek to determine delayed planning applications as quickly as possible and case officers will contact agents directly to provide an update on likely determination timescales. 

To see the connectivity study for Dambridge WwTW and Stodmarsh August 2022, and Dover District Council and Natural England letters go to Stodmarsh Nutrient Neutrality Guidance (





Posted on 13 September 2022