A Norfolk MP is one of five senior Conservatives spearheading calls for Rishi Sunak to take action to unlock a limbo which has stopped thousands of homes being built in the county.

Sir Brandon Lewis, Great Yarmouth MP and a former housing minister, is piling pressure on the prime minister to revive a bid to scrap the nutrient neutrality directive.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Sir Brandon LewisSir Brandon Lewis (Image: PA)

That directive requires that new housing developments in areas, including parts of Norfolk, should not add more 'nutrient pollution' to local waterways.

Since April 2022, councils in parts of Norfolk within the catchment of the Norfolk Broads and river Wensum, have been unable to grant permission for new homes, unless it could be proved they would not add to pollution.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: The directive aimed to stop pollution on the Norfolk BroadsThe directive aimed to stop pollution on the Norfolk Broads (Image: Mike Page)

Mr Sunak tried to rip up the red tape last year, but was thwarted when it was voted down in the House of Lords.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Prime minister RIshi SunakPrime minister RIshi Sunak

But Sir Brandon, along with fellow senior Tories Robert Jenrick, Sir Simon Clarke, Greg Clark and Rachel Maclean, want Mr Sunak to fast-track a new Bill to axe the regulations.

Writing in national newspaper the Telegraph, Sir Brandon, who announced he will not be standing again in the next election, said: "It’s a shame the government did not resolve this last year when they said they would.

"We owe to the people who need those homes and the wider economic benefit they will deliver."

Councils in Norfolk have been trying to solve the issue, which council leaders say has held up decisions on thousands of homes and pushed builders and white van tradespeople to the brink of bankruptcy.

Some authorities formed a joint venture with Anglian Water, through which developers can "offset" nutrients by buying "credits" used to fund mitigation measures.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: A farmer was paid close to £1m in return for not rearing pigs on his landA farmer was paid close to £1m in return for not rearing pigs on his land (Image: Denise Bradley)

That has also attracted controversy, after a farmer near Caistor St Edmund was paid close to £1m by the scheme, in return for not rearing pigs on his land.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust bosses previously called for the environmental protections to remain in place.

Gareth Dalglish, the charity's director of nature recovery, had warned: "Any weakening of environmental protections would have a devastating effect on our Norfolk rivers, streams and wildlife."