Policy ENV 17: Protecting water resources

  1. Development proposals will not be permitted that are likely to have a detrimental impact on the flow or quality of groundwater or surface water.
  2. Any proposals for new development within groundwater source protection zones must accord with the Environment Agency guidance and position statement as set out in its document entitled 'The Environment Agency’s approach to groundwater protection’, or any subsequent iteration of the guidance. New development within groundwater source protection zones will be expected to conform to the following:
    1. Master planning may be required to mitigate the risk of pollution to public water supply and the water environment. For residential proposals within source protection zone 1, pipework and site design will be required to adhere to a high specification to ensure that leakage from sewerage systems is avoided.
    2. Appropriate management regimes to secure open space features in the groundwater protection zone.
    3. A quantitative and qualitative risk assessment and mitigation strategy with respect to groundwater protection will be required to manage the risk of pollution to public water supply and the water environment.
    4. Construction management plans will be required to identify the potential impacts from all construction activities on both groundwater, public water supply and surface water and identify the appropriate mitigation measures necessary to protect and prevent pollution of these waters.

Supporting information

4.106  This policy supplements LPS Policy SE 12 'Pollution, land contamination and land instability' and makes explicit the protection of groundwater and surface water in terms of both their flow and quality. Our water resources provide drinking water, sustain crucial habitats for many different types of wildlife, and are an important resource for industry and recreation. Protecting and improving the water environment is an important part of achieving sustainable development and is vital for the long term health, well being and prosperity of everyone.

4.107  The Environment Agency has defined groundwater source protection zones for groundwater sources, which are often used for public drinking water supply purposes. These source protection zones signify where there may be a particular risk from polluting activities on or below the land surface. The prevention of pollution to drinking water supplies is critical.

4.108  Any risk assessment should be based on the source-pathway-receptor methodology. It shall identify all possible contaminant sources and pathways for the life of the development and provide details of measures required to mitigate any risks to groundwater and public water supply during all phases of the development. The mitigation measures shall include the highest specification design for the new foul and surface water sewerage systems (pipework, trenches, manholes, pumping stations and attenuation features).

4.109  The policy supports the EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC), transposed into national law through The Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) (England and Wales) Regulations 2003. They look to prevent deterioration of all water bodies (groundwater and surface waters) and to improve them with the aim to meet ‘good status’ or ‘good ecological potential’ by 2027.

4.110  Groundwater provides a third of England’s drinking water and must therefore be kept free from harmful pollution. The Environment Agency identifies source protection zones (SPZs). These signal that there are likely to be particular risks posed to the quality or quantity of water obtained, should certain activities take place nearby. There are a number of SPZs in the borough. When assessing proposals for development, reference should therefore be made to the Environment Agency’s groundwater source protection zones map together with the Environment Agency’s groundwater protection guidance documents to make sure any impact of development on groundwater quality in the area is properly considered and controlled.

4.111  Development proposals on sites within a groundwater source protection zone must demonstrate that there will be no risk to the source during construction or post-construction stages.

4.112  The Environment Agency’s Groundwater Source Protection Zones 2019 are shown on the adopted policies map.

Related documents 

Policy information


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