Urgent Telephone 4pm - 8.30am : 01233 331111

Ashford Borough Council seeks Nutrient Neutrality proposals


We would like to take the opportunity to do some “soft market testing” as outlined below, to determine current interest levels in the market.

What is the issue

Since July 2020, certain planning applications (those providing overnight accommodation, including new housing) located within the Stour catchment and/or which discharge foul water into the catchment need to achieve nutrient neutrality through mitigation.

Natural England have published some principles that the mitigation must meet. View the nutrient neutrality principles [pdf] 152KB.

Natural England has published and outlined a methodology on this issue and the regulations that any mitigation needs to achieve. View Natural England Nutrient Neutral Methodology [pdf] 964KB.

In response to this issue, Ashford Borough Council is looking to innovate and identify ways to solve this problem and enable house building within the catchment.

What do we need to achieve

We are looking for proposals that will deliver mitigation for both Phosphorus and Nitrogen that can then be applied to mitigate the impacts of development identified through the ‘Appropriate Assessment’ process as regulated by the Habitats Regulations.

Mitigation achieved can be measured and priced per Kg.

We would be interested to know your proposal in terms of;

  • Evidence that the idea complies with the Habitats Regulations
  • Examples of use elsewhere
  • Price per Kg of mitigation

Your proposal can be in the form of a brochure or PowerPoint presentation of no more than 10 pages i.e. 5 double sides of A4 addressing the 3 points above.


The council’s technical partner will assess whether this is compliant with the Habitats Regulations and Appropriate Assessment process.

The council reserves the right to contact respondents at its discretion and no solicitations should be made in this regard.

Should the council decide to conduct a formal tender exercise, the notice commencing the procurement will be published on Find a Tender OR Contracts Finder and the Kent Business Portal and interested parties may sign up to receive direct notification of publication from these websites.

Soft Market Testing

The Soft Market Test is intended to allow interested organisations with relevant experience to outline their views and provide information with no commitment to themselves or the council.

During the Soft Market Test we would like to gauge the level of interest in providing a solution to the council’s issue.

Interested respondents are required to submit their proposal by 10:00 Friday 12 January 2024. If you have any questions for clarification, the deadline for submitting these is 10:00 Wednesday 3 January 2024.

If respondents have any questions about this soft market test, such questions should be submitted to the council using the ‘Messaging” facility within the opportunity advertised on the Kent Business Portal by the deadline for Clarification.

A copy of the question and a copy of the written reply may be circulated to all respondents, with anonymity of the respondent preserved. Respondents must not raise questions through any other channels, including emails direct to the council.

No questions will be responded to, other than those raised through the Kent Business Portal as described above.

We encourage your participation in this soft market testing exercise but must emphasise that your involvement in this exercise will not carry any commercial advantage in any ensuing procurement process and will have no bearing upon the selection of firms to compete in any subsequent procurement.  

No information provided in response to this soft market testing exercise will be used in any evaluation of any subsequent response to a procurement exercise.

Respondents are liable for their own time and expenses related to this exercise and no reimbursements will be made.

Confidentiality, freedom of information and Environmental Information

Subject to the statement on freedom of information below, the authority will treat responses to this questionnaire as confidential and not disclose information to third parties without the consent of the respondent.

All information relating to any response to the questionnaire may be accessible under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

The authority is under a legal obligation to disclose such information if requested, unless an exemption applies. The authority may also be subject to disclosure requirements under other legislation or applicable codes of practice, or otherwise as required by law, including by order of a court.

The authority may, in its absolute discretion, consult with the respondent before making a decision on a request for information. The interpretation of the authority in relation to any disclosure obligation or exemption shall be final.

Page 4 of 4