Nutrient Neutrality

Cornwall is one of many areas now affected by nutrient neutrality concerns.

Any project that lies within the River Camel catchment area, which is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), requires the potential impact from phosphate loading to be assessed before planning permission can be granted.

As a result, many scales of development require a Phosphate Impact Assessment report to accompany their planning application in Cornwall, even for a single new dwelling.

Currently, there are no phosphate offset schemes operating in Cornwall, meaning your phosphate impact assessment needs to conclude nutrient neutrality for your planning permission to be granted. In time phosphate offset schemes should become available, which will allow any additional phosphate which will be produced by your application to be offset by the purchase of units.

CEC use Cornwall Council’s phosphate calculator to inform a Phosphate Impact Assessment report. This assesses the potential impacts on the sensitive ecological features of the Special Area of Conservation, and is suitable to accompany your planning application.


Keith Barnett
Private Client
Preliminary Ecological assessment (PEA), PEA – reptile, species survey and Phosphate Impact Assessment.
“We contacted CEC as we are planning to build on our land and wanted to support the business arm of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and felt CEC would have a wide range of ecology expertise. We were not disappointed! We requested an ecological survey for planning (PEA). This identified the need for an additional species survey. The ecologists were friendly and passionate about their work. We found their knowledge to be so educational in developing and enhancing our project around the strengths of the existing habitat. For example, providing planting suggestions and how to create different habitats for various species in the new building and the landscaping. Crucially CEC also provided an easy to follow and achieve mitigation strategy for protected species during the building process. The experience has been so positive, especially with having such enthusiastic people guiding us. With biodiversity seriously declining over recent years, it is a fantastic feeling to be able to give something back to nature. We so look forward to being colonised in the future by additional species, such as bats and lizards!”

Interested in how we can help?

We’re always happy to chat and share our experience; get in touch and let’s chat about your project, and we’ll help you to move forward.