THOUSANDS of new homes can now be built following a government-backed nutrient mitigation scheme. 

About 3,700 new homes can now be built in the Poole Harbour catchment area while protecting rare birds and their habitat. 

Natural England will offer credits for sale to developers through its nutrient mitigation scheme in the coming months after buying 883 acres of land in Lyscombe, supported by £30m from the government. 

The source of the Little Piddle, a tributary of the River Piddle, rises at Lyscombe, near Dorchester, presenting the opportunity to restore the river and valley bottom for wildlife. 

It will also reduce the amount of harmful nutrient pollution entering waterways and reaching Poole Harbour.   

Bournemouth Echo: LyscombeLyscombe (Image: James Burland)

Marian Spain, chief executive of Natural England, said: “The purchase of Lyscombe is a significant step forward for nutrient mitigation and a boost for sustainable development.  

“Providing nutrient credits through work at sites like these will ensure that we can keep building homes for the future, without harming our waterways.   

“This demonstrates how nature recovery and sustainable development can be delivered hand in hand. It is impressive to think of all of the benefits that will be realised here, for nature and people, and how projects like this happen when we work in partnership and use a combination of tools and funds for the greatest outcome."   

The purchase of chalk downland and farmland at Lyscombe Farm was also helped by Natural England’s national nature reserves funding, alongside donations from Dorset Wildlife Trust supporters.   

The partnership between Natural England and Dorset Wildlife Trust at Lyscombe Farm will also provide space for significant nature recovery. The long-term ambition for Lyscombe is to create a wildlife rich, open-access national nature reserve.   

Brian Bleese, chief executive at Dorset Wildlife Trust said: “The acquisition of Lyscombe is an excellent example of a blended finance initiative, bringing together statutory, charitable and private funding to deliver benefits for nature, people and sustainable development.  

“Making space for nature and people is vital in addressing climate change and the ecological crises.  Projects like Lyscombe ensure that development also contributes to environmental improvements.”