Letter to James Bull, Labour candidate for County Councillor

Email sent to James Bull, Labour Candidate for County Councillor in the upcoming local elections on May 6th 2021 – 


Dear Mr Bull

I have just received the Labour News flyer promoting your election as County Councillor.  I am writing to let you know that you will not be getting my vote for the simple reason that you have completely ignored the single biggest threat my village of Horningsea is facing and that is the relocation of the Cambridge’s Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) to just outside our village boundary at Honey Hill.

How you could include Horningsea in your remit without referencing this devastating decision is incredible and I would welcome your comments on this point.

I would also be very pleased to receive your comments regarding the relocation project itself which as you will know is being driven by the NECAAP development.  Anglian Water (AW) have many times stated there is no operational need to move the plant; in fact back in 2015 the current site was upgraded at considerable expense to ‘future proof it for decades to come’.  AW have been very clear that the relocation is necessitated purely by the City and County Councils desire to develop the brownfield site for housing, retail and business space which means that Green Belt must be sacrificed.  In light of the huge shift in living and working habits as a result of Covid, there is a growing belief that this should be paused and reassessed.  I would argue that with all the other proposed development planned for the Cambridge area which includes Waterbeach Barracks, Six Mile Bottom, Cherry Hinton, Marleigh to name a few, our housing needs can be more than adequately satisfied without moving the sewage works.

Your flyer headline states ‘Wildlife haven is wrong site to build on” referring to Bannold Drove fields which are prone to flooding.  Well, Honey Hill is our wildlife haven and although it is not prone to flooding, it is located on a Principal Chalk Aquifer defined by DEFRA’s Magic Maps as High Risk to Groundwater Contamination.  AW have said on a number of occasions that cost and geology prevents the associated structures of a WWTP being sunk as they are at most other sewage plants – this is of huge concern to us on a visual level but also an environmental one.  Do you agree that this site is unsuitable for a Waste Water Treatment Plant?

Yours sincerely

Catherine Morris
Save Honey Hill Campaigner

Let’s see if I get a response!!

Letter to Feargal Sharkey

Letter to Feargal Sharkey

12 February 2021

Feargal Sharkey

By email

Via Terry Macalister

Dear Feargal

Isn’t life the darndest?  If someone had said to me back in 1978, as a fifteen-year-old girl watching you perform Teenage Kicks on Top of the Pops, that I’d be writing to you 43 years later about chalk streams and chalk aquifers, I’d have said they were off their trolley!

But there we are, life offers up many twists and never quite turns out how you might expect.  And that is where I and the village on the outskirts of Cambridge where I live, find ourselves….in a position now where we are faced with the prospect of Cambridge’s wastewater treatment (sewage) plant being relocated to our doorstep, slap bang in the middle of our endangered Green Belt.

What, you are asking yourself, has this got to do with you?  Well, not only is the proposed location for Anglian Water’s (AW) Wastewater Treatment Plant relocation just a few hundred metres from my village boundary on Green Belt between the villages of Horningsea and Fen Ditton (NNE of Cambridge), at a site popularly known as Honey Hill.  It is also a piece of land which according to Defra’s Magic Maps, is a Principal Chalk Aquifer with high risk (red alert) to groundwater contamination. AW themselves admitted at a recent webinar that the aquifer is a mere 5 metres below the surface meaning that all of the associated structures that would normally be sunk below ground cannot be, leaving us with multiple 26-metre-high tanks to look at in what is an extremely flat, open and exposed landscape.  The visual impact of this is obvious but what is of more concern to me personally and I hope to you, is the very real and impending danger this siting poses to the aquifer if, as is highly likely over time either through degradation of the site or manmade accident, contaminant seeps down in to it.  I should also say at this point, that the proposed site is a stone’s throw from Quy Fen, a site of special scientific interest and the lay of the land is such that any said contamination that might occur would flow downhill towards Horningsea, Quy Fen and a number of local residents who still get their water from wells.

Now I don’t need to tell you anything about chalk aquifers, streams and the River Cam – I attended your recent webinar and if it wasn’t so shocking and scary, I could say I enjoyed it immensely.  It was clear, concise, straight-talking and you certainly didn’t sugar coat the dire situation we find ourselves in here in our region with regard to our chalk streams and the Rivers Cam and Granta.  You know far more than I about these matters which I am hoping will lead you to the conclusion that you must in whatever way you can offer up some advice or comment that we can maybe use to our advantage here in our upcoming battle to stop this relocation.

Because a battle of huge proportions it will indeed be.  The momentum already behind this project feels slightly overwhelming as our campaign group (Save Honey Hill) grapples with the enormity of the task at hand.  At a meeting last night, we formally agreed that our focus must be to stop AW from relocating to Honey Hill whilst in parallel working to mitigate against it if we fail.  The driver for this relocation is the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan (NECAAP), a development being pushed forward by the City and County Councils to provide what they say is much needed housing and commercial/office space.  This development was conceived long before Covid and many people in Cambridge now believe this development along with many others which are being steamrollered through, should be paused and reassessed in light of the change to our working and living practices post-Covid.  There is a growing sense, thanks in no small part to your campaign I believe, that Cambridge cannot sustain the huge amount of development that is being thrust upon it; I learned last night that we already have to have water from the Midlands pumped in to keep up with current demand.

And so, to conclude, I am writing to you in the hope that you might feel able to get in touch in some way to offer your support to our campaign.  I don’t really know what else I can hope to ask of you but if there is anything you can offer that you think might be useful to our cause it would be an incredible boost to receive.

Yours sincerely

Catherine Morris

Horningsea Resident and Save Honey Hill Campaigner


Still awaiting a response.