Save Honey Hill Group

Right under our noses, a crime against our environment is taking place. Anglian Water is applying to move a fully-functioning sewage works less than a mile to a new location on arable farmland in the Green Belt at Honey Hill between the villages of Fen Ditton, Horningsea and Quy. This private water company is being funded by £227 million of public money1.

Save Honey Hill is a community group formed to reject the proposal to relocate the Cambridge sewage treatment works from Milton to Honey Hill, a beautiful unspoilt, quality green field and arable site and an entry point to Wicken Fen. Honey Hill is in Green Belt land which forms part of an essential green lung around Cambridge.


Update on Sewage works DCO Examination:

Save Honey Hill met the second deadline on Wednesday. We submitted comments on the City, District and County councils’ Local Impact Reports, the three Councils’ responses to Inspectors’ questions, Anglian Water’s replies to the Inspectors’ questions, comments on Natural England and the Environment Agency’s responses to the Inspectors and their Written Representations. Our barrister reviewed some of the documents but most were on our knowledge of the local area and what it would mean for residents. The next deadline is 18th December when the Inspectors will ask more questions and AW, the Councils and other organisations will respond to comments made. So hopefully slightly less work for that one. In January there will be more questions from the Inspectors and possibly some Hearings which we will attend. The Inspectors will be making an Accompanied Site Inspection in January so we have asked them to visit all the areas in the villages which would be affected by construction and operation if it were to go ahead, so you might see them at Waterbeach level crossing, Clayhithe, Horningsea and the B1047 and A10 Junction. A representative of SHH will join them but only to help with navigating – no-one is able to try to influence them at that stage. They have been very impressive with their forensic questioning of AW and everyone involved. So, we feel we are getting a fair hearing. We are also sharing information with other organisations such as Friends of the Cam and CPRE. All documents will be published on the National Infrastructure website in a few days’ time.


Preliminary meetings were held last week at the Hilton Hotel in Cambridge. Spanning across two days, the meetings are now available as video recordings on the National Infrastructure Planning website.

Since the meetings, the Planning Inspectors have published their timetable (Rule Letter 8) in which it sets out details of future hearings and deadlines. You can also see here the Examining Authority’s written questions and requests for information (ExQ1) which is comprehensive to say the least at 132 pages.

The Save Honey Hill members are now working hard to prepare its written representations to meet the PIs Deadline 1 of 20th November 2023.

We continue to invite donations however small:

UPDATE – The Save Honey Hill Group registered as an Interested Party (IP) and sent our Representation to the Planning Inspectorate on Tuesday 18th July.

All 309 Representations have now been published. Go have a read of the many different ones from your neighbours and beyond. It is heartening to see such objective, personal and varied comments. Thank you to each and every one of you who took the time to write their thoughts.

The Planning Inspectorate will inform all IPs of the timetable for the next stage – the Examination, which is likely to start in September. At that stage anyone who has registered as an IP will be invited to make further comments in a Written Representation. We expect our barristers to give more input into that Representation.

During the Examination stage, which usually lasts six months, the Planning Inspectors will send questions to Anglian Water and to stakeholders for further information raised by the Representations. They will also hold issue-specific hearings. We will keep you updated when we have more detail. There is more information on the NI website National Infrastructure Planning; all Representations will be published there shortly.

We are very grateful for your support and donations. We have budgeted for further advice but more income would give us confidence to use this even more effectively. So please spread the word to your friends and garner their support. Here’s more information – donate now.

  1. HIF Award of £227 to unlock 9000 homes – Chancellors Autumn 2020 Statement/Spending Review p38 []

Where is Honey Hill?

Honey Hill lies next to the A14 between the villages of Horningsea, Fen Ditton and Quy on the north east outskirts of Cambridge City. Accessed from Horningsea Road (B1047) to its west or from High Ditch Road, Fen Ditton and Low Fen Drove (across the A14) from the south, Honey Hill makes a popular circular route for walkers and cyclists alike.  Being a short distance from Baits Bite Lock over the River Cam and in the shadow of historic Biggin Abbey, Cambridge folk can quickly and easily access this seemingly remote and bucolic environment with its close links to Quy Fen (a site of special scientific interest).

The Site Area identified for relocation of CWWTP in the vicinity of Honey Hill is extensive at 127ha1. The A14 shapes the southern boundary, it extends down from Honey Hill to the B1047, runs along the length of the B1047 then behind the conservation village of Horningsea.

A map showing the sewage works site, Horningsea and Fen Ditton.
Where they plan to put it!

The exact location of the plant within the Site Area was unknown at the stage of the CWWTPR Phase One consultation2. However, the CWWTPR Phase Two consultation shows the plant site as indicated in the map above3. The plant area can be seen to be equivalent in size to the village of Horningsea and in such close proximity it is likely to swamp it. The Site Area lies within land identified for the National Trust’s Wicken Fen Vision which will form the southern boundary on the edge of Cambridge and access gateway for residents of Cambridge City and surrounding villages4. It is hoped it will become part of one of the most important rewilding of wetlands projects in the UK.  It is important to create a ‘wildlife corridor’ for such rewilding to be successful.  Therefore, this cannot simply move to a different location in the same way that a waste water treatment plant can. 

The area is home to a host of wildlife, perhaps most notably rare solitary bees5 and it is definitely not unusual to see a herd of deer grazing alongside hare, fox and badger.  There is great concern for the local bat population due to the threat that a sewage plant with its associated lighting at night would pose.

Cambridge Past Present and Future (CPPF) in partnership with the local Wildlife Trust and other conservation groups, has identified the area as part of its Nature Recovery Network for Cambridge as a way to provide a linked haven for wildlife but also a place for our growing population to reap the physical and mental health benefits associated with nature and the outdoors6.

According to Magic Maps (DEFRA), Honey Hill covers an area which is high risk to groundwater contamination.  It sits on a Principal Chalk Aquifer that is unprotected by a gault clay layer7

Honey Hill is in the Green Belt which is designed to protect a city from urban sprawl and should not be built on unless it is absolutely unavoidable. Anglian Water has said that the move is not operationally necessary8. They upgraded the existing plant in 2015 at a cost of over £20m, to future-proof it until 20509.  Building there will arguably set a precedent for more development in the future.

Link to Google Maps



  1. CWWTPR Stage 4 Main Report 2021 []
  2. CWWTPR Phase One Consultation []
  3. []
  4. National Trust Wicken Fen Vision (2009) []
  5. “Honey Hill RA1 hymenoptera list” Stephen Boulton August 2020 – []
  6. Cambridge Nature Network (March 2021) []
  7. Magic Maps (DEFRA []
  8. letter from Environment Agency 22 March 2019 “NECAAP Issues and Options Consultation” []
  9. “Upgrade for Anglian Water’s Cambridge Recycling plant” []