Save Honey Hill Gazebo days!

The Save Honey Hill Group ran a series of gazebo events from the end of July through August in line with the CWWTPR Phase 2 Consultation period. The photos showed why we call them gazebo events…! Luckily it was generally sun and not rain we needed protection from!

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The objective of the events was to give our campaign a face and provide a link to the wider general public to inform and educate as many as possible about the consultation period which focussed on mitigation. The opportunity was also taken to highlight and discuss the wider issues of why the sewage works should not be relocated to Honey Hill (NECAAP issues, use of Green Belt, no operational need to move etc.).

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It has been generally agreed within the group that footfall did not see the levels experienced by similar events undertaken during the Phase One Consultation period in 2020 but nonetheless they were deemed a worthwhile exercise and group members manning the events were very encouraged by the resounding positivity and support received from the public. Holding such events during the pandemic was a tricky decision, but we made sure precautions were taken at all stages. There was a very small minority of people who stated their belief that the relocation was a good thing and that Honey Hill was the best place for the sewage works to end up. Interestingly, on the two instances I experienced this reaction, both individuals made their comments while passing through and neither were prepared to stop and discuss their rationale.

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We switched things up this year by trying a couple of different locations for the events eg. The Quy Fen layby and Teversham. Scotsdales in Horningsea were extremely accommodating for one of the events and permitted us our full gazebo set up – we are very grateful to them for their continued support.
Thank you to all those who helped with the events. Everybody put such a huge amount of effort into the organisation and making the gazebos well stocked with information and extremely eye-catching.

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The last glimpses of a sunset over Honey Hill?

Our local free amphitheatre for watching
the silent regional manoeuvring of clouds,
the molten kinetics of sunsets,.
dew’s disappearance after dawn …,
for hearing
the arrival of long distance breezes
and for sizing up the sky.

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(photo and words from David Yandell. Photo taken from Snout’s Corner. Just next to where the access to the sewage works will be constructed).

Greater Cambridge Local Plan First Proposals – North East Cambridge : What about the Green Belt?

As reported in the Cambridge Independent1 the joint Council Leadership is promoting the new Greater Cambridge Local Plan First Proposals as having green credentials and an emphasis on protecting the Green Belt that surrounds Cambridge and the historical villages within it. The villages themselves and Green Belt designation has been identified in multiple Green Belt Studies commissioned by the joint Councils over the years as being essential to maintaining the character of Cambridge City. As specified by Lead Member for Planning on South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cllr. Hawkins2:

“The Green Belt is a vital tool for protecting the unique setting of Cambridge City as well as protecting our villages from urban sprawl whilst maintaining their character and providing green corridors for bio diversity…It is only possible to make changes to the Green Belt if there is very strong evidence to justify it….”

Many of the villages in the Green Belt and the historical listed buildings within them, have an additional layer of protection in being designated Conservation Areas. Planning protection of Conservation Areas extends beyond the specific boundary and includes adjacent land where a proposed development would have a detrimental impact on the setting, character and appearance of the Conservation Area.
Despite the declarations of our Council Leadership there is a clear omission in the Greater Cambridge Local Plan First Proposals.

The Local Plan nor the supporting Strategic Environmental Assessment address the direct consequences of the housing proposals for North East Cambridge, namely the relocation of Cambridge Waste Water Treatment Plant (CWWTP) into the Cambridge Green Belt.

The proposed site for the relocation is in the Honey Hill area, within just 1.5km of the existing plant and 0.5km of three conservation areas: Fen Ditton, Baits Bite Lock and Horningsea. The proposed plant will be visible from all these areas which include multiple footpaths, national trails and other high quality public amenity land. This location jeopardises the National Trust’s Wicken Fen Vision, the area being the intended southern public access for the extended Fen Area, now to be within the odour zone of the proposed relocated CWWTP3.

All conversations or implied meaning in reports that the relocation of CWWTP is to do with anything other than the Cambridge City and South Cambridge District joint Councils desire to build houses on the existing site and adjacent land are red herrings or smoke screens.

There has been no reference to any requirement to increase capacity in Anglian Water’s public funding or planning application to date. Indeed, it is due to there being ‘no operational need to relocate’ that Anglian Water are legally unable to raise finance or charge its customers to cover the costs of building a replacement facility and applied instead for £227 million of public money to do so456.

In 2016, £21 million was invested in the existing plant and was stated as having future-proofed the plant ‘for decades to come’. The Environmental Journal heralded the upgrade as ‘securing its standing as the eastern region’s green energy generating plant’78.

Anglian Water in their letter to the Secretary of State seeking a Development Consent Order (DCO) state the operating capacity of the existing site has a population equivalent of 548,000 and that the proposed relocated site will operate at the same capacity9.

The capacity of the integrated CWWTP has a population equivalent of 548,000……..
The CWWTPR will operate at the same capacity as the existing CWWTP.

Current plans to extend the CWWTP catchment area for waste water to include Waterbeach New Town, in the absence of the relocation, will be absorbed by the existing site creating, in Anglian Waters’ words, ‘significant embodied carbon reductions and operational efficiency.’

The increased employment opportunities arising out of the proposed plans for North East Cambridge (NEC/NECAAP) are also not attributable to the relocation of CWWTP to the Green Belt. The figure of 15,000 jobs specified in the Greater Cambridge Local Plan First Proposals are the same as those identified in the Issues and Options Consultation (2014) informing the existing South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) Local Plan (2018)10 without the requirement of the CWWTP relocation. As the market requires, new office buildings and R&D facilities in the area within the Cambridge Science Park, St John’s Innovation Centre and Cambridge Business Park will continue as at present.

The implications of the relocation of CWWTP for the benefit of housing development on carbon expenditure is huge, including embedded carbon and carbon emissions.

Carbon expenditure in the relocation, to fulfil the Councils’ desire to build houses on the existing site, should be calculated and off set against any carbon efficiencies declared to be gained in a new plant and assessed against the Local Plan policy on Carbon Expenditure/Omissions.

Carbon expenditure will include: the decommissioning of a fully operational and future-proofed plant within just 1.5km of the existing one; the decontamination of land to make it fit for housing; the construction of an entirely new plant in undeveloped land; extensive tunnelling to carry waste that feeds into the existing plant across the river, up the hill to the new one and back again to the River Cam; and construction traffic over a four year period.

There is a regulatory requirement that the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) used to inform the direction of the Local Plan must set out the likely significant effects of implementing the plan, that authorities and the public are given an effective opportunity to express their opinion and that the report includes information that may be required to do so11

The omission of the relocation of CWWTP as a direct consequence of the Councils’ housing development plans for North East Cambridge in the SEA does not enable our elected Council representatives or the residents of Cambridge City or South Cambridge District to effectively and objectively assess the effects of the Local Plan on the Green Belt or other related Local Plan policies.

Notably, without inclusion of the proposed CWWTP relocation site in the Local Plan, the Councils are not fulfilling regulatory requirements and the planning proposals for North East Cambridge cannot be measured on a par with other development proposals in the Local Plan.

Anglian Water are pursuing a national planning pathway (Development Consent Order, DCO) for the relocation; timing of the Greater Cambridge Local Plan strategy accounts for this.

If the DCO planning process is put forward by the joint Councils as a reason not to include the effects the housing proposals for North East Cambridge will have on the Green Belt, and it is not to be assessed against the Local Plan policies on a par with other proposed developments, then the proposals for North East Cambridge should be removed from the Local Plan until such time as they can.

Jennie Conroy
Resident of Fen Ditton
On behalf of Save Honey Hill Campaign – 25-09-2021

  1. 1st September 2021 https://www.cambridgeindependent.co.uk/news/interactive-map-see-the-sites-where-nearly-49-000-new-homes-9214197/ []
  2. Cambridge Independent, 2nd September 2021 https://www.cambridgeindependent.co.uk/news/anthony-browne-mp-condemns-49-000-home-greater-cambridge-loc-9214388/ []
  3. National Trust Wicken Fen Vision (2009)
    https://nt.global.ssl.fastly.net/wicken-fen-nature-reserve/documents/wicken-fen-vision-strategy-document.pdf []
  4. letter from Environment Agency 22 March 2019 to GCP – “CNFAAP Issues and Options Consultation”. p2 []
  5. https://cwwtpr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/CWWTPR-Phase-One-Consultation-Summary-Report.pdf []
  6. HIF Award of £227 to unlock 9000 homes – Chancellors Autumn 2020 Statement/Spending Review p38 []
  7. Environment Journal July (2016)
    https://environmentjournal.online/articles/cambridges-water-recycling-centre-looks-future/ []
  8. “Water Briefings” trade journal 2014 https://www.waterbriefing.org/home/company-news/item/9110 []
  9. Request for Direction by the Secretary of State pursuant to Section 35 of the Planning Act2008 – The Cambridge Waste Water Treatment Plant Relocation Project 1st Dec 2020 []
  10. South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) Adopted Local Plan (2018)
    https://www.scambs.gov.uk/media/17087/south-cambridgeshire-adopted-local-plan.pdf []
  11. Greater Cambridge Local Plan:
    First Proposals
    Sustainability Appraisal
    []

Save Honey Hill’s response to the Phase 2 Consultation

Here is the official response from the Save Honey Hill group to the Phase Two consultation of the Cambridge Waste Water Treatment Plant Relocation proposal (CWWTPR). The response has been sent to Anglian Water and they have confirmed receipt.

The consultation ends tomorrow, but it’s not too late to add feedback. Even if you have submitted a response using Anglian Water’s form, they will still accept emails and letters. Anglian Water have confirmed these will be counted and accepted. Their interactive map will also be accepting comments and “likes” up until the end of tomorrow. It only takes a few minutes to go like comments you agree with. It only takes a few minutes more to enter comments about various parts of the proposal.

Phase 2 consultation. – ends Wednesday 18th August.

Now that Anglian Water have selected Honey Hill to be the site for their new sewage works they are consulting on mitigation measures to make this industrial site fit nicely in between the villages of Horningsea and Fen Ditton. They have even asked if we want a visitors centre for people to be welcomed to the sewage works… NO!!!

There is little time left to Have Your Say as the Phase 2 Consultation will end on the 18th of August.

It is extremely important that as many residents as possible have their say. Without feedback they will count their pennies and mitigation measures will be minimal! The Save Honey Hill group have written some suggestions for filling in the questionnaire if you need some help on our website. You will find a direct link to the consultation form there.

Here’s the official response from the Save Honey Hill group.

Please do respond to the CWWTPR Phase Two Consultation:

  • Emailing questions to Anglian Water at info@cwwtpr.com
  • Making lots of comments on its interactive map by visiting the digital engagement platform
  • Completing a feedback form per person not per household
  • Asking at least two friends to do all of the above.
  • WHERE THEY PLAN TO PUT IT Landscape

    Unesco strips Liverpool waterfront of its world heritage status

    The United Nations Heritage body have said that years of development have caused ‘irreversible loss’ to historic value of Liverpool’s Victorian docks. So Liverpool’s much valued world heritage status, which it gained in 2004, has now been stripped.

    This an awful blow to such a lovely city. But it is a warning that Cambridge and similar historic and treasured cities should heed.

    Cambridge is facing many massive development projects within and around the city. From large scale developments such as the train station development that has been rightly condemmed as “an embarrassment to the city”, to small quirky historic pubs like the much loved Flying Pig pub that is to be demolished for office blocks, to the upcoming NECAAP development on track to become the neighbourhood with the highest density of housing in Europe. It seems developers are free to profit from piling concrete block on concrete block and our city suffers.

    Still at least Anglian Water will be building a Discovery Centre so that people can view the sewage works they are placing on greenbelt land.

    Cambridge deserves better.

    Water and sewerage companies in England: environmental performance report for 2019

    If you think the UK’s water companies can be trusted to manage greenbelt and protect chalk streams and drinking water aquifers from pollution, then read this report from the Environment Agency published last year on pollution incidents from water companies (Anglian Water and Thames Water were responsible for over 50% of such incidents).

    Then read how Southern Water have just been fined £90 million for years of deliberately disposing of billions of litres of raw untreated sewage into the sea off the North Kent and Hampshire coastlines, to avoid paying costs of upgrading infrastructure.

    He said the company had a history of criminal activity for its “previous and persistent pollution of the environment”. It had 168 previous offences and cautions but had ignored these and not altered its behaviour. “There is no evidence the company took any notice of the penalties imposed or the remarks of the courts. Its offending simply continued,” he said.

    Finally why not look at DEFRA’s Magic Maps website that shows the risk of groundwater contamination below where Anglian Water are intending to relocate the Sewage Works.

    HoneyHill MagicMapsGroundwaterVunerability

    Worried?

    Press Release June 2021

    Save Honey Hill’s response to the announcement of Anglian Water’s Phase Two Consultation for the Cambridge Waste Water Treatment Plant Relocation (CWWTPR) project

    Members of the Save Honey Hill (SHH) Campaign Group made up of residents from the villages of Fen Ditton, Horningsea, Quy and Teversham have spent the last few days evaluating Anglian Water’s consultation pamphlet which dropped on 24th June.

    The villages, in particular Horningsea and Fen Ditton, are being asked to take a huge ‘hit’ in accommodating this relocation project.  The footprint of the proposed site is as big as that of each of the conservation villages of Horningsea and Fen Ditton.  It represents a devastating and monstrous imposition and detriment to our village communities and their existing enjoyment and way of life.  Anglian Water should be duty bound to deliver on all fronts in a way that goes above and beyond to minimise the impact and maintain the status quo as much as possible.

    Residents are unconvinced by the scant detail provided by Anglian Water (AW) in its consultation pamphlet and fact sheets.  None of the technical reports on which AW’s claims are based are available for scrutiny.  To give an example, with regards to visual impact and mitigation, AW gives nothing away regarding the height of the bund and additional screen on top which it says will contain the works.  The illustrations are misleading as they suggest only a small portion of the 26 metre anaerobic digesters will be visible above the earthwork bank1.  Campaigners believe it is highly possible that about 50% will be visible from much of the surrounding areas.

    Serious concerns remain regarding AW’s claims around minimising odour.  AW says it is committed to delivering the lowest ‘negligible’ impact of odour in line with the Institute of Air Quality Management despite its poor record at the existing Cowley Road site.  SHH demands on behalf of residents that AW demonstrates what ‘negligible’ means by taking village representatives to other facilities where odour is dealt with in a like for like way.  SHH demands that AW uses technology that eradicates completely the possibility of odour but where it is proven first.

    AW makes much of its commitment to improving access to green spaces creating new footpaths and bridleways to open up recreational access to the area.  SHH does not believe that anyone will consider the new sewage works a desirable destination or recreational amenity that can rival in any way what already exists on this stretch of green belt.  It is worth noting that AW’s own graphic in the consultation document shows the predicted odour outline and the impact that has on all the landscaping it is proposing to include.  SHH argues that the predicted odour generated will have the opposite effect and ensure the site deprives people of their established access to fresh air and exercise.

    AW is very keen to bestow the net zero carbon virtues of its new plant.  On the basis, of AW’s own figures at least 1,000,000 tonnes of concrete will be delivered to the site during the construction phase.  This equates to approximately 80,000,000 kg of CO2 raising the question how long will the plant need to exist before it clears its debt to climate change and the environment?  AW states that “the facility is being designed and will be constructed to make an allowance for future growth that is planned to occur….up to at least the year 2050”.  Bearing in mind this plant will not be operational till 2028 (provided construction comes in on time), this provides longevity of just 20 years!

    Of the three options for access points to the site which have been put forward for consideration, only Option 3 is acceptable to any of the village communities affected by this relocation.  Option 3 would see the creation of a new dedicated junction on the north side of the A14.  Campaigners and residents will only accept a plan that keeps both construction and operational traffic away from communities.

    Catherine Morris, Horningsea resident and Save Honey Hill Campaigner, says “If we are to get anywhere close to accepting this relocation, we must be to all intents and purposes oblivious to the existence of all associated traffic.  Options 1 and 2 will create a hugely negative impact on the already busy, narrow, ill-equipped local B class roads namely High Ditch Road and Horningsea Road.  In the case of Horningsea Road, access to the site here would see our cycle path for children getting to school and adults alike compromised by over 300 extra vehicle movements a day during construction most of which will be HGVs delivering concrete to the site.  Once operational, the site will attract an estimated 146 HGV movements a day plus light worker traffic (( CWWTPR 2021-Site-Announcement-Webinars-FAQ-Summary Q1 Traffic and Transport section https://cwwtpr.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/CWWTPR-Site-Announcement-Webinars-FAQ-Summary.pdf )) .”  Incidentally, these are also the roads that all the pedestrians and cyclists AW believes will want to visit the site for recreational purposes, will need to travel along to access the site.  Mrs Morris adds “It is farcical to be suggesting the use of these country roads for such a large amount of heavy traffic trundling alongside the general public who Anglian Water think will be wishing to visit the Discovery Centre or ‘new woodland, species-rich grassland meadow and hedgerows’.  It beggars belief that AW is suggesting tens of HGV sludge lorries a day can exist in harmony with either the landscape setting it is promoting or the people who it says will want to visit it.”

    “It is farcical to be suggesting the use of these country roads for such a large amount of heavy traffic trundling alongside the general public who Anglian Water think will be wishing to visit the Discovery Centre”

    The proposed Discovery Centre is designed as an educational resource so that children can learn about the importance of water, water recycling processes and its vital role in supporting the environment.  In October 2020, The Guardian reported that AW came third in a table of water companies responsible for their worst levels of environmental pollution in five years in 20192.  The article states that ‘48 serious pollution incidents took place at sewerage facilities, more than half of which were from Anglian and Thames Water assets.’  Is this who we trust to teach our children about such a fundamentally important resource?

    It remains the case that AW has no operational need to move the sewage works ((letter from Environment Agency 22 March 2019 “NECAAP Issues and Options Consultation”)), and that the current site at Cowley Road has sufficient capacity to meet the growing demands of development in Cambridge for the foreseeable future ((Environment Journal July (2016)
    https://environmentjournal.online/articles/cambridges-water-recycling-centre-looks-future/ )).  The Combined Authority (Cambridge City and South Cambs County Councils) is requiring that AW moves in order to provide a much sought-after brownfield site on which to build houses.  After the Chesham and Amersham by-election Boris Johnson said “What we want is (sic) sensible plans to allow development on brownfield sites.  We’re not going to build on greenbelt sites. We’re not going to build all over the countryside.”  (( https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-chesham-amersham-by-election-b1868492.html)). The chosen location for AW’s new plant totally flies in the face of this statement.

    Save Honey Hill remains committed to stopping the relocation and to challenging all applications and projects for developments in the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan (NECAAP) which may influence the relocation.

    Save Honey Hill Group is organising Covid friendly events throughout July and August by providing information points at key locations as follows:

    • Fen Ditton Church, Saturday 3rd July 10am – 4.30pm
    • Quy Fen layby, north of Horningsea, Sunday 11th July 10am – 4.30pm
    • Fen Ditton Church, Sunday 18th July 10am – 4.30pm
    • Scotsdales Garden Centre, Horningsea, Saturday 24th July 10am – 4.30pm
    • Fen Ditton Church, Saturday 7th August 10am – 4.30pm
    • Barracuda Fish and Chips, Ditton Lane, Saturday 14th August 5.30pm – 8pm

    Readers are kindly invited to read more and/or donate to the campaign.

     

     

    1. https://cwwtpr.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/210616_Anglian-Water-CL-A4-AW-LOW-RES.pdf []
    2. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/02/water-firms-england-criticised-rising-environmental-pollution []