In a rural county such as Norfolk there are major tensions between the pressures for growth and development; the needs of agriculture for the irrigation of crops; and the rivers and wetlands as a vital part of landscapes, and for wildlife habitats. It is not always appreciated that all depend on the same source of water, the rain which percolates into the ground and is retained in strata such as chalk.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) gives significant weight to economic factors over and above environmental concerns.
With the highest ever levels of growth planned for Norfolk, there remains local as well as national political and business pressure for relaxing environmental considerations.
If taken forward, the adverse impact of these pressures for growth could be far-reaching. For the GNDP (Greater Norwich Local Plan) and elsewhere in the county it could lead to more housing in the wrong places, more water stress, less regulation on point and diffuse sources of pollution of water, and lower standards for discharge of waste water.
Water is an increasingly stressed natural resource under pressure from rising demand due to population growth, intensification of agriculture, industrial use, domestic extravagance, and climate change.
CPRE Norfolk is campaigning to ensure that water is treated as a finite and valuable resource and never just taken for granted.Read more in our position statement