Editor: The House of Lords’ rejection of the government’s proposed nutrient neutrality solution is where people playing party politics do this country no favours at all.
We desperately need new homes and to protect the environment, but rather than work together to solve the problem, Labour has just seen political opportunism.
Being seen to champion the environment is easy to do and it makes you look virtuous. The far more difficult job is to try and solve the underlying problems, namely a major housing crisis and poor water treatment infrastructure.
Banning all cars and air travel would immediately do wonders for the environment, so why don’t we do it? Because we need both, just like we need homes for people to live in and protected waterways.
New homes account for just 5% of the nutrient problem, with the real issue being the water companies’ poor water treatment facilities and the run-off water from agriculture, which, unlike housing, does not pass through any water treatment at all.
The proposed solution provided a way forward that attempted to address both issues, but now we’re back in limbo again.
Frustratingly, it’s not a difficult problem to solve. Invest in the water treatment infrastructure that both new and existing homes connect with, and the situation drastically improves. And while Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and co will doubtless be celebrating their fine political win, the victory comes at the expense of people trying to get on the housing ladder, people who work in the construction industry and, ultimately, the environment.
The job of our politicians should be to create solutions, not prevent them. If this is a taste of what is to come, we are going nowhere fast.
Ritchie Clapson, co-founder, propertyCEO