Herefordshire’s unprecedented Luston Wetland project has been acknowledged with a Local Government Chronicle (LGC) award for Environmental Services

High levels of Phosphate have long been known to damage our rivers including the Wye and Lugg. By 2019 Natural England advised Herefordshire Council that the levels of phosphate in the Lugg sub catchment meant that in order to protect the river, any new housing development must fully offset its phosphate load.

Herefordshire Council responded to this with a unique global first in developing the Luston Wetland to capture and remove phosphate, helping to improve the wellbeing of our rivers and creating credits that could be used for new homes. The scheme ensures that more phosphate is removed from the river system than is returned to it through any form of development and provides a boost to local biodiversity and wildlife, helping to safeguard our natural environment as a county.

Lgc winner luston wetlands

The Luston Wetland is partly funded by developers, and the remainder through New Homes Bonus and Local Enterprise Partnership funding, and the Council will recoup costs through planning contributions to reinvest in several further wetland sites, the first of which will be at Tarrington.

The judges recognised it as a groundbreaking initiative that tackles the critical issue of nutrient pollution and its subsequent economic repercussions. They noted the project was already being held up as a national exemplar and were impressed it was delivering against a range of strategic outcomes. Luston Wetland has already secured credits for 1112 new homes.

Ross Cook, Corporate Director of Economy and Environment, said: “It is excellent to see the work achieved on nutrient neutrality in the county, and this award reflects the progress, effort and innovative thinking that has gone into tackling the issue over a number of years. The Luston scheme has been a world-first and is helping to close the gap on the housing needs identified within our Local Plan.

“Together with our partner organisations, we share a strong commitment to achieving carbon neutrality and improving our environmental sustainability. The opportunities presented by the Wetlands project helps us to uphold this commitment by tackling river pollution at its root sources, while delivering the development that the county needs.”

More information about Luston Wetland can be found on our website.

Published: 14th June 2024