Stodmarsh Moratorium

The Stodmarsh Moratorium was issued to stem the eutrophication in the Stour Catchment Area. Recurrent years of blue-green algae blooms which negatively impacted extensive areas of the Stodmarsh Nature Reserve, wetlands, wildlife, protected birds and habitats. The high nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations from wastewater effluent and agricultural diffuse runoff. The Stodmarsh Moratorium issued by Natural England halted the granting of planning permission to new developments as it would contribute to and exacerbate the nitrate and phosphate pollution issues in the Stour catchment. The Stodmarsh Lake Hydrological Study commissioned by Natural England in May 2016 indicates that the dominant source of pollution are the phosphates from sewerage treatment works which account for 50% to 80% of the concentrations in the River Stour which runs past Stodmarsh Lake. The study highlights that in 2016, all surveys of phosphates concentrations in the vicinity of Stodmarsh Lake have exceeded the Water Framework Directive (WFD) threshold of 0.15mg/l with 83% of the results being at least 0.51mg/l. Thus exceeding the regulated "good river" designation levels by more than 300%. Additional sampling by the Environment Agency in the summer consistently highlighted concentrations of phosphates exceeding the WFD threshold level at around 0.53mg/l. Five years on and even with the Stodmarsh Moratorium in place the phosphate levels remain stubbornly high indicating that finding an effective solution will not be an easy exercise.  

The eutrophication issue in the Stour catchment is also compounded by other contributory factors like the runoff from the agricultural fields and nutrients from chicken slurry from the many chicken farms in Kent. In August the Environment Agency relaxed the muck spreading ban and issued a regulatory position statement (RPS), allowing farmers to spread organic manure exceeding the soil needs or those of the growing crops. The provisions for the RPS are for the farmers to actively monitor the pollution risk and to keep the Environment Agency informed. Meanwhile, the National Farmers Union has voiced concerned that the original ban which is supposed to be reinstated in March 2022 is costly, idealistic and impractical for most farmers.   


Helping developers independently address the Stodmarsh Moratorium? 

The various sources of pollution that are causing eutrophication complicate finding a resolution to this important issue. However with more than 40,000 homes held up in the planning system in the Stour catchment, developers need to find an appropriate and viable resolution that disentangles them and facilitates developments.      

Environmental Designations 

Eutrophication significantly increases the costs of drinking water abstraction and treatment, causes deterioration of aquatic habitats, loss of plants, birds and fish. It also deters leisure activities like angling, water sports and other recreational activities. Stodmarsh Nature Reserve is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) with much of the site also designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA), Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Ramsar Site. Therefore affording it the most stringent environmental protections. The nature reserve is of critical importance for its breeding bird habitats, notably for breeding bittern and marsh harrier. These birds also use the lake and local rivers for feeding particularly fish. The Stodmarsh Nature Reserve is also important for its wetland habitats found on site and invertebrate species including the internationally important and protected Desmoulin’s whorl snail.    

Since the 1990s Stodmarsh Lake has experienced eutrophication issues which have resulted in blue-green algae blooms, fish kills, endangering birds, aquatic wildlife and the poor ecological condition designated by Natural England as "unfavourable".   

Protected Birds & Habitats
 at Stodmarsh Nature Reserve

Birds At Stodmarsh
Stodmarsh Nature Reserve IX
Stodmarsh Nature Reserve VII
Water Waves
Stodmarsh Nature Reserve VI
Stodmarsh Nature Reserve IV
Stodmarsh Nature Reserve V
Clear Water
Stodmarsh Natutre Reserve II
Stodmarsh at Dawm
Stodmarsh Nature Reserve III
Glasses of Water



The Stodmarsh Moratorium is clearly a complicated matter. However developers cannot rely on local authorities, water companies and regulators to find a quick and effective resolution to this issue. Developers working with Water Offsets have the opportunity to use innovation and technology to unlock their sites and facilitate development.  


Our Approach

Our approach utilities innovation, technology and water offsetting to facilitate developments. Developers that are quick to adapt this strategy will be front runners in delivering their developments.

Our approach can also unlock strategic developments leading to reduction in infrastructure costs or in some cases the reduction in the requirement to contribute to sewer treatment works upgrades. We are thrilled that we are facilitating developments, conserving water and preserving the environment.

Stodmarsh Nature Reserve I.png




​Water Neutrality - Option 1

  • All new homes built have a water demand of 125l/p/day

  • New Homes will meet the Building Regulation Part G Mandatory 

  • Applicable to Brownfield development sites

  • Brownfield site water use is equal to or exceeds the new water demand

  • Typical brownfield site with heavy water use; filling stations with car wash, nursing home, golf courses etc

​Water Neutrality - Option 2

  • All new homes built with a water demand of 110l/p/day

  • New homes will meet the Building Regulation Part G Optional Standard

  • Applicable to Brownfield development sites 

  • Brownfield site currently uses less potable water than the new development

  • Offset the residual water demand by retrofitting an existing property 

  • Register onto theWaterBank to be matched with existing property owner

  • Facilitate the retrofit works via theWaterBank with a water offsetting agreement 

Water Neutrality - Option 3  (Greenfield & Strategic Sites)

  • All new homes built with a water demand of 85l/p/day

  • New homes water demand is less than Building Regulation Part G Optional Standard

  • Applicable to Greenfield or Strategic Development Site

  • Greenfield / Strategic development with water efficient fittings + greywater recycling units 

  • Decentralised greywater recycling units reducing potable water consumption by 45%

  • Register onto theWaterBank to be matched with existing property owner

  • Facilitate the retrofit works via theWaterBank with a water offsetting agreement 





Vegetable Farm
Vegetable Farm

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Coast Line
Coast Line

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Hydraloop Washing Machine
Hydraloop Washing Machine

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Vegetable Farm
Vegetable Farm

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Save up to 45% of tap water and 45% of wastewater

with clean, clear, safe and disinfected Hydraloop water.

Reducing average UK usage from 125 l/p/d to 83 l/p/d.

Water efficient fittings will result in further

reductions to 75 l/p/d or less. 

On greenfield and strategic sites new residential homes can use Hydraloop, to recycle up to from showers, baths, as well as water from washing machines, and air-conditioning units. This enables home owners to reuse up to 85% of the greywater discharged from the home. The treated and disinfected Hydraloop water is suitable for toilet flushing, washing machines, garden irrigation and topping up swimming pools or jacuzzi.

Decentralised Hydraloop greywater recycling system will facilitate the granting of planning permission and in some instances a reduction in infrastructure costs.