Considering an application in the River Camel catchment area

What you may need to know

Submitting an application

We strongly recommend that you use an environmental or ecological consultant.  They will help you:

  • complete the phosphate calculator
  • research and design any required mitigation strategy.

There are many other catchments in the UK that are also in the same position.  Many consultants have expertise in this field.

Phosphate budget calculator

The River Camel phosphate calculator is now ready for use.  You can find the calculator and guidance on how to use it on our Nutrient neutrality in Cornwall page.

We have updated our Validation Guide.  You can find the information on our Validation updates page.

We know other calculators are available.  But the Cornwall Council calculator uses local data to provide an accurate phosphate calculation.  This includes data from local waste waste treatment plants.  Regarding any calculations based on a different Local Planning Authority's calculator:

  • we would not accept them
  • you would need to repeat them using the Camel specific phosphate calculator

Natural England released a new calculator for completing a nutrient budget on 16 March.  The Natural England advice acknowledged that a transitional period would be required where existing tools and methodologies were in place.  We are discussing the calculator with NE and will update the Cornwall Council calculator shortly.  Applicants may then need to rerun their phosphate budget calculations.  Until advised otherwise, please continue to use the Cornwall Council calculator. You can find more information using this link: Temporary pause on developments - River Camel

Interim guidelines - small scale thresholds and nutrient neutrality principles

The Council have published interim guidelines on:

  • small scale thresholds
  • nutrient neutrality principles

These have been agreed with Natural England.  The guidelines include help to:

  • determine if a project will have a likely significant effect
  • consider nutrient neutrality.

You can access the guidelines using this link: Interim guidelines.

If you wish to rely on these guidelines, please provide an assessment setting out how the development accords with conditions a) to h).  Assessments should be done by a competent person with the relevant experience.

We have updated our local Validation list.  You can find more details using this link: Validation Guide


If you submit a valid application and then withdraw it at any time before it has been determined, we will not refund the fee.

Grampian conditions

It is not possible to use a Grampian condition requiring a mitigation package.  There is no certainty at this stage over the course of mitigation that would be taken.  So a Grampian condition could not be imposed.

Please note Appeal decision APP/Q3305/W/20/3257000 dated 1 June 2021 - Land to the north of Wookey Hole Road, Wells, Somerset.


An application can be refused if it needs an Habitats Regulations Assessment if there are other reasons for refusal.  The LPA reserves the right to refuse planning permission due to:

  • a lack of information and/or
  • failure to demonstrate that the proposal would not result in an increase in phosphate levels which would further affect the current unfavourable status of the River Camel SAC.

Extending an Outline consent

The LPA cannot extend the deadline of an Outline consent if the River Camel SAC issue is not resolved before the Outline expires.

You will need to reapply and pay the relevant fee because we cannot extend permissions.

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