“Joint statement from local leaders and the Combined Authority Mayor on Cambridge 2040 announcement”

The Mayor and other local leaders issued a statement on the 19th December 2023 about Rt Hon Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, updated plans for the Government’s ‘Cambridge 2040’ vision.

The Government’s vision for Cambridge includes proposals for “northwards” of 150,000 new homes around Cambridge as part of a major new expansion of the city.

“Joint statement from local leaders and the Combined Authority Mayor on Cambridge 2040 announcement”

Press Release in response to Anglian Water’s application to the Planning Inspectorate

Save Honey Hill campaigners are primed and ready for action now that Anglian Water has submitted its application to shift its sewage works at Cowley Road less than a mile to Green Belt agricultural land between Horningsea and Fen Ditton (Honey Hill).

The application has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate despite Anglian Water stating many times that there is no operational need for it to move. With the support of Cambridge City Council, Anglian Water applied to the Housing Infrastructure Fund and was awarded £227 million of taxpayers’ money, thereby funding a private company’s brand new plant without it having to go to its shareholders for a penny.

Save Honey Hill campaigners, who continue to be encouraged by the legal advice and direction they receive thanks to the generous donations of supporters, are currently preparing their responses even though they will have to wait to see the application in its entirety if and when the Planning Inspectorate accepts it within the next 28 days.

A Save Honey Hill representative says, “We have been preparing for this moment for the last three years and if this application is accepted by the Planning Inspector, we will be ready. Our commitment to fight this project and protect the precious, vulnerable countryside around Cambridge, its ‘green lung’, has not waned. The proposed site at Honey Hill is valuable agricultural land which currently makes a contribution to our country’s food security.

“The virulent expansion of Cambridge is seemingly going unchecked with little consideration given to the huge carbon cost of moving a major part of infrastructure such a short distance and with no operational gain

Save Honey Hill

“The virulent expansion of Cambridge is seemingly going unchecked with little consideration given to the huge carbon cost of moving a major part of infrastructure such a short distance and with no operational gain. We believe this project flies in the face of national planning policy and is a gross misuse of public money at a time of great economical fragility for our country.”

“Of course our villages don’t want this building project to go ahead with the associated impact on our communities of four years worth of construction traffic and other associated side effects. But we could accept it a whole lot better if we were getting something that was an improvement on what Cambridge already has. The site at Honey Hill is such a sensitive one in terms of setting and proximity to conservation areas and sites of significance, both scientific and historical. It will be there for all to see from all directions and yet the design of the plant is underwhelming to say the least. If this move really is as necessary as we are led to believe then why isn’t Cambridge being given cutting edge, state of the art and something to be proud of?”

If this move really is as necessary as we are led to believe then why isn’t Cambridge being given cutting edge, state of the art and something to be proud of?”

Save Honey Hill

In response to Anglian Water’s claims that the new ‘flagship’ waste water treatment plant will enable it to continue to provide vital waste water services to customers across Cambridge and the surrounding area that will be resilient and adaptable for future growth, Save Honey Hill say that the fact is capacity at the existing plant already allows for this – the site was ‘future-proofed’ less than 10 years ago at a cost of £21 million and has the room it needs to expand if necessary. 

The Planning Inspectorate now has 28 days to decide if it will accept the application for examination at which time the submission documents will be published and anyone will be able to register an interest to comment on the application at https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/eastern/cambridge-waste- water-treatment-plant-relocation/


Save Honey Hill Group

info@savehoneyhill.org

Save Honey Hill is a community group formed to reject the proposal to relocate Cambridge’s sewage treatment works from Cowley Road, Milton to Honey Hill, valuable agricultural land in Green Belt between the villages of Horningsea and Fen Ditton. Save Honey Hill objectors are against the relocation of the plant in principle. However, they also insist that if it is to be sited at Honey Hill the impact on neighbouring communities should be absolutely minimised.

Cambridge Waste Water Treatment Plant Relocation (CWWTPR)

Cambridge Waste Water Relocation Project (CWWTPR) is Anglian Water’s proposal to relocate Cambridge’s fully-functioning sewage works to Cambridge Green Belt just between the villages of Horningsea and Fen Ditton. With the support of Cambridge City Council, Anglian Water applied for £227 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) to pay for the relocation, the sole aim being to develop the vacated brownfield site for housing and commercial space as part of the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan (NECAAP).

Save Honey Hill, 2 February 2023

Press Release: Anglian Water’s decision to put access for the proposed Sewage Treatment plant on Horningsea Rd..


To coincide with Anglian Water’s announcement on the access it has chosen to its proposed relocated Waste Water and Sewage Treatment Plant at Honey Hill, between Quy, Horningsea, Teversham and Fen Ditton.

Save Honey Hill is deeply disappointed in Anglian Water’s decision to choose Junction 34 of the A14 with Horningsea Road as the access for the proposed new sewage works despite unanimous support from all bodies consulted to go with the option of a dedicated road from the lay-by on the north side of the A14.

Our District and County Councillors, Parish Councillors and Member of Parliament all rejected the options of access from Horningsea Road and High Ditch Road.

Save Honey Hill objects to the access from Horningsea Road because:

  • it goes against Anglian Water’s professed intention of giving priority to the concerns of ‘host parishes’
  • ignoring this opinion makes the process of consultation appear to be a sham
  • the rationale for rejecting this option, as set out now, was never fully explained during the
    consultation
  • the road between Horningsea and Fen Ditton is a minor rural route (C210) which is already
    dangerously over loaded. To its load, this proposal would add all the traffic generated by 3-4 years of massive construction plus all the daily traffic in operation, including nearly two hundred trucks per day, carrying sewage sludge (from other plants) or the by-products of sludge, in and out of the works
  • there is a weight restriction on this road which, both during construction and operation, AW would be allowed to ignore
  • this plant, a piece of nationally significant infrastructure serving a population of over a quarter of a million, ought to be linked directly to an arterial road and not inflict its access or impose its presence unnecessarily on adjacent village routes
  • throughout the design process, as it has progressed, AW has ignored the possibility of pursuing an ideal design – so, for instance, the possibility of building a new plant beyond the Green Belt, where neither the setting of the City nor that of some of its necklace villages are harmed, has not been explored. In the same way, independent access is readily disregarded as a clearly widely preferred possibility
  • the A14, at the point where the access could be formed, at present accommodates a very long lay-by which is heavily used by HGV drivers taking a break. These drivers must slow down to enter the lay-by and pull out slowly and sharply to leave it. If this arrangement is considered acceptable, then an on and off pair of filtering slip roads solely dedicated to serving the plant would form a safe substitute. The engineering at this point is easy and economical with the road and the adjoining land being at the same level
  • such an access would be restricted entirely to traffic generated by the plant – so it would be little used when compared with standard A road junctions. There are examples of such limited access points serving maintenance and emergency traffic off the M11 north of Bishop Stortford and serving the new bio-fuel plant outside Baldock on the A505.
  • Save Honey Hill objections are against the relocation of the City’s Waste Water Treatment Plant in principle. However, they also insist that if it is to be sited at Honey Hill the impact on the communities affected should be absolutely minimised.

    Save Honey Hill 10/12/2021

    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 []