Early in 2021, Eastleigh Borough Council outlined its proactive approach to help protect the Solent’s waterways through the purchase of farming land to remove it from agricultural use, following concerns of excess nutrients such as nitrates and phosphorus making their way into bodies of water across the Solent region.
These nutrients which occur from different man-made sources, such as agricultural fertiliser and household wastewater can enter the waterways and cause serious problems for local wildlife.
The Council takes these concerns very seriously and is taking positive and proactive steps to ensure that there is robust mitigation and protection in place. By purchasing land across the Borough - the most recent being Stoke Park Farm and Manor Farm in Bishopstoke, the purchase of which is soon to be completed - the land can be protected from any future use which may result in damage to our waterways.
Under Council ownership, the land will then be used for other environmental benefits, options include: additional woodland planting, creating habitats for biodiversity to thrive, such as the Southern Damsel Fly, or left in natural states as additional green space such as meadows or wetlands, preserving our gaps between our towns and villages.
In total there are eight (soon to be ten) parcels of agricultural land which is now owned by the Council, the land can be used to offset any nitrates that could occur as part of development in other parts of the Borough and across the Solent region.
Cllr Keith House says ‘The need for new housing is well established, but we need to be leading the way to show how this need can be met while at the same time ensuring that the environment is protected too. Eastleigh Borough Council did not hide from this important issue and took proactive steps to protect the important gap between our towns and villages and the local waterways. Crucially, this land will remain undeveloped, help protect land between our communities and provide environmental benefits for the long term.’