Stodmarsh and water quality

In July 2020 Natural England issued water quality advice which affects planning applications for new homes in large parts of the district.

This means that an assessment must be carried out before we can agree new housing development which discharges waste water to the Stour Valley river catchment area. This is to make sure new development doesn't cause any further deterioration of the water quality at Stodmarsh. 

The water quality advice from Natural England applies to planning applications which would connect to a waste water treatment works (WWTW) which discharges into the Stour Valley.

View the affected waste water treatment works on a map

The affected areas include:

  • Canterbury (Sturry) WWTW
  • Herne Bay (Great Stour) WWTW*
  • Westbere WWTW
  • Chartham WWTW
  • Newnham Valley WWTW

*The advice doesn't restrict new development on some sites in the villages to the south and east of Herne Bay.

Southern Water has confirmed these villages are in catchment area 1 of the May Street waste water treatment works, which discharges into the sea and doesn't impact Stodmarsh.

There's no map available for the catchment area, but you can contact Southern Water for advice on a specific site.

What we’re doing to find solutions 

Since the guidance from Natural England was issued in July 2020 we have worked with local councils, Natural England, Kent County Council, the Environment Agency, Southern Water and government departments to find a solution.

In April 2021 the leaders and Chief Executives of the affected councils and the Chair of the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership wrote to the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), as well as the Secretary of State for the then Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government highlighting the impact of the issue on the delivery of new homes across the catchment area, and to seek their support to unlock growth.

A recent report on progress across the catchment was presented to the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership on 25 November 2021. 

In March 2022 we were given updated advice on nutrient neutrality - including a nutrient budget calculator - from Natural England. 

We are continuing to work with the other councils to investigate a range of potential mitigation options, such as wetlands, to allow the development of much-needed new homes in the district to go ahead.