Herefordshire's rivers are currently struggling with high levels of nutrients entering the watercourses and adversely affecting its quality. These include the Rivers; Wye, Frome, Lugg and Clun.

Predominantly this nutrient is phosphate, however, the River Clun, similar to The Solent, is also suffering from high levels of nitrates.

Read more about nutrient levels in watercourses in Herefordshire and what we are doing about it.

We are acting to improve the existing water quality and to ensure that any further development will not affect nutrient levels in our rivers.

Therefore all planning applications in the areas below must demonstrate how they will achieve nutrient neutrality.

River Lugg SAC catchment

The River Lugg Special Area of Conservation (SAC), a part of the River Wye SAC is currently failing to meet its conservation targets. To sign off on a Habitat Regulations Assessment for development within the Lugg catchment you must demonstrate nutrient neutrality. You can assess this using Natural England's nutrient budget calculator.

Visit the River Lugg catchment page for the latest information and guidance for developers.

Development in the River Clun catchment

Natural England have recently advised that the Clun is exceeding its targets for both phosphates and nitrates. A nutrient budget is required using Natural England’s calculator and applicants must demonstrate nutrient neutrality as part of their application.

Visit the River Clun catchment page for the latest information and guidance for developers

Non-mains foul drainage

For non-mains foul drainage, see our interim guidance on package treatment plants and small scale impacts in the Lugg catchment.


We have been working on a variety of projects to both improve water quality and enable economic growth.

Phosphate credits

Phosphate credits generated from the wetlands project are allocated in validation date order. The council is currently processing existing applications awaiting determination that were validated before 31 October 2021. Find out more about phosphate credits for development in the Lugg catchment.

Other mitigations

Applicants can demonstrate their own means of mitigation both onsite, in the first instance, and offsite where necessary.

Mitigation can be a complex matter, so we would recommend seeking advice through either Natural England's Discretionary Advice Service and/or the council's pre-application service.

Further information

We are processing applications for Phosphate credit trading, and therefore advise that applicants prepare requested information as outlined on the Phosphate credits River Lugg catchment page

If you have other questions about nutrient management in Herefordshire, not covered by our guidance, please email: