wetlands Norfolk


Councillors have approved the creation of a new wetland near Guist in Norfolk, aimed at preventing harmful housing pollution from reaching the River Wensum.

Spanning 17 hectares of countryside, the wildlife haven proposal by Persimmon Homes, a developer planning hundreds of properties in the area, received approval from Breckland Council.

The wetland is designed to store the same amount of phosphate levels produced by 600 homes, aligning with EU-era laws mandating that housing projects avoid excess pollution in waterways and maintain “nutrient neutrality.”

Persimmon Homes asserts that the wetland will enhance water quality downstream of the River Wensum while facilitating the development of new home schemes within the river catchment area.

The project involves creating three ponds, diverting water from the Foulsham tributary via a dam or small weir.

Though Natural England expressed some concerns, acknowledging wetlands as a suitable measure to offset nutrient loading, it emphasized the need to mitigate potential impacts on endangered water voles through obtaining a protected species mitigation license.

The project, unanimously backed by councillors, is hailed as a “good news story” by Nigel Wilkin, Chairman of Breckland Council’s planning committee.

“We are not just covering the district in concrete – we also welcome this type of scheme coming forward,” he said.

Persimmon Homes told the meeting: “We hope the wetland will be a valuable infrastructure asset, both for this district and Norfolk itself.”

A spokesman said it would be applying for the mitigation licence before construction work begins at the end of February.

Michelle Baker, managing director of Persimmon Homes Anglia, added: “We’re very proud of the new wetland that we are going to create in Guist, which will unlock much needed new homes in the area and improve water quality.

“As a business, we take our environmental responsibilities extremely seriously, and I am delighted that we have brought forward a high-quality, nature-based solution that offers so many environmental benefits.”

With an expected completion by summer, Persimmon Homes will announce the chosen entity to manage the wetland.

This initiative reflects a proactive approach to balancing housing development with environmental preservation and compliance with regulatory standards.



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When you help to restore a patch of degraded land through rewilding to forests, meadows, or wetlands, you have a massive impact on the biodiversity at a local level. You give animals a home and food that they otherwise would not have had, and it has a positive snowball effect on the food chain.

We are convinced that this is much better for the UK than growing lots of fast-growing coniferous trees, solely to remove carbon, that don’t actually help our animals to thrive.

This is why we stand for restoring nature in the UK through responsible rewilding. For us, it is the right thing to do. Let’s do what’s right for nature!

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