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Council seeks views on Local Development Order to support Revamp Your Tank Scheme

Wiltshire Council is asking for people to provide feedback on a proposal which could potentially accelerate a project to upgrade people's septic tanks.

Published 20 May 2024

Wiltshire Council is asking for people to provide feedback on a proposal which could potentially accelerate a project to upgrade people's septic tanks.

In an effort to safeguard the water quality of the Hampshire Avon catchment, through the Revamp Your Tank initiative, Wiltshire Council has partnered with Wessex Rivers Trust to seek to reduce nutrient-rich wastewater entering watercourses and, in turn, enhance the health of local aquatic ecosystems.

To support this project, the council is undertaking a consultation as part of the process to potentially implement a Local Development Order (LDO) in the Hampshire Avon catchment which, if introduced, should help accelerate the project to the benefit of local communities and the natural environment.

A consultation to get people's views on the proposed Local Development Order will take place from today (20 May) until 17 June 2024. It can be found on our consultation portal (opens new window), and some hard copies are available in council offices in Salisbury, Trowbridge and Chippenham.

Local Development Orders provide permitted development rights for specified types of development in defined locations. They are flexible and locally determined tools that a Local Planning Authority can use to help accelerate the delivery of appropriate development in the right places. They streamline the planning process by removing the need to make a planning application to a local planning authority for the upgrade of a septic tank, in this instance. In addition, this will introduce a requirement that any householder upgrading their septic tank in the future does so with a new system that performs to the same or higher environmental standards laid out in the scheme. This helps to reduce river pollution and helps protect Wiltshire's most important places for nature.

Through the Revamp Your Tank Scheme Wiltshire Council is offering fully funded grants to homeowners in the Hampshire Avon catchment for upgrading their sewage systems. The initiative promotes the replacement of septic tanks with more efficient package treatment plants, tailored to each property's needs. These upgraded systems not only separate solids and liquids but also biologically treat effluent (liquid waste or sewage)for safe discharge into watercourses, thus reducing river pollution.

Cllr Nick Botterill, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Finance, Development Management and Strategic Planning, said: "We think a Local Development Order will complement the work we're doing as part of the Revamp Your Tank Scheme, and it's exactly the type of project this planning tool was brought in for.

"I encourage people to provide their feedback via the consultation to help inform the next steps of the project. 

"The Revamp Your Tank scheme provides an ideal opportunity to upgrade to a much more efficient system and the more people that play their part, the bigger the positive impact for nature we'll see."

Residents in eligible areas are encouraged to visit the Wiltshire Council website at Biodiversity and development to check eligibility criteria to potentially get their septic tank upgraded for no cost, further details about the initiative can be found on the Wessex Rivers Trust website at Wessex River Trust - revamp your tank (opens new window).

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