Plans for Somerset wetlands to mitigate phosphate levels

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Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Numerous developments across Somerset have been held back because of a court ruling

New wetlands to offset phosphate levels could be created beside a motorway.

Chelston Heath LLP has put forward plans to create wetlands, alongside housing and commercial developments, near Wellington in Somerset.

The plans could create up to 236 jobs.

Numerous developments across the county have been held back because of a court ruling which prohibits any increase in phosphate levels on the Somerset Levels and moors.

In January, the Taunton-based company proposed to deliver new business units on the eastern side of the Chelston link road, which connects Wellington to the M5 at junction 26, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The site is bordered by Haywards Water, which runs its source in the Blackdown Hills around the Foxmoor Business Park, under the link road and towards the River Tone.

To mitigate the impact of the commercial development, Chelston Heath intends to create seven new ponds, connected by weirs, and plant a significant number of trees within the site.

Somerset West and Taunton Council has set aside £2m to create the wetlands and has adopted a new system of "phosphate credits" which could deliver about 700 houses.

Image source, Swan Paul

A spokesman for Tetra Tech Planning, representing the applicant, said: "The principal objective of the wetland is to improve water quality by reducing the concentration of phosphate in Haywards Water, which ultimately joins the River Tone.

"Phosphate removed by the proposed wetland would be used to offset phosphate surpluses at development projects in the River Tone catchment, and thus allow a number of stalled planning applications to progress.

"Phosphate sources within the catchment are largely of agricultural origin with inputs also received from septic tank overflows."

The council is expected to make a decision on the plans before the end of the year.

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