A NEW wetland will be created in Micheldever to remove nitrates from the environment, in plans are given the go-ahead.

Winchester City Council is planning to create the 0.54 hectare wetland in a meadow to the north of Waterloo Cottages and Barron Close. Water will be diverted from, and returned to, a carrier stream of the River Dever.

The scheme will generate ‘nitrates credits’ for the council’s affordable housing planning applications, which are now required.

In letter sent to local residents, the authority said that the wetland will improve the meadows appearance, protect it from future development, increase biodiversity, create new wildlife habitats and reduce flood risk.

It continued: “The land was given to the council with the intention of being used for new housing but because of the flood risk it is not suitable for this development.

“Creating a wetland to support the council’s planning application for new affordable housing developments in the district is therefore considered a suitable alternative of this land.”

It means that the chosen site will not be developed for housing.

The wetland has been designed by Aquascience - wetland ecology specialists – and includes four unlined, shallow ponds connected by wide open channels.

Diverted water will be filtered as it passes from east to west across the site before being returned to the carrier stream.

A city council spokesman said: "Micheldever has been selected because of its close proximity to the river Dever. Wetlands play an important role sustaining biodiversity as well as creating new wildlife habitats and reduced flood risks. Not only will this improve the meadows appearance, it will help remove nitrates as water filters through the wetland."