Office for Environmental Protection chair tells ministers plan will degrade England’s rivers and demands that they explain it to MPs

Plans to rip up pollution rules for housebuilders are a “regression” which will degrade England’s rivers, the government’s environment watchdog has said.

An amendment tabled by the government to the levelling up bill orders local authorities to ignore nutrient pollution from new developments in ecologically sensitive areas in England, including the Norfolk Broads and the Lake District. These nutrients, when untreated, cause algal blooms that choke the life from rivers.

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