Update 21st April 2021

Dear all,

Update 21st April, 2021

The Ox-Cam Arc – an environmental catastrophe

‘Net environmental gain has never been achieved at scale’ 


Oxford Ecologist David Rogers, Secretary of the No Expressway Group will  talk about the environmental impact of the Ox-Cam Arc and lead a discussion hosted by Friends of the River Cam.

Wednesday, 28th April, at 7 – 8.30 pm


The controversial Oxford-Cambridge Expressway was cancelled in March but the Government still aims to increase economic output of the Oxford-Cambridge region with one million jobs and one million houses, with Cambridgeshire’s share (271,000) increasing the entire housing stock of the county by 2050 by more than 80% .

Plans for mitigation imagine “doubling nature” in places by 2050, but this will only come at the cost of losing other areas to development, and as Dieter Helm, Chair of Defra Natural Capital Committee, admits ‘Net environmental gain has never been achieved at scale’.

Do we really have to sell nature to save it?

The Cam and its tributaries are in their death throes, sucked dry by water companies and polluted by sewage. How can pumping the rivers full of even more sewage be part of ‘doubling nature’ or ensuring a ‘lasting green legacy’? Following the recent Panorama programme on river degradation, a petition was launched on the Government Petitions website, asking the Government to ‘Ban Water Companies discharging raw sewage into water courses’ https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/582336.

Local Plans and Local Transport Strategies take the Ox-Cam Arc ambitions for granted, about which the general public has been neither informed nor consulted.

Find out about what is being planned for this region before you vote in the May elections. Your voices as citizens are important. The talk and discussion  promises to be exciting, informative and a call to action.


At a recent Westminster Forum Paul Leinster, a former CEO of the Environment Agency and lead member on Natural Capital for the OxCam Arc, the incoming chair of Water Resources East, the brainchild of Anglian Water, admitted that what to do with the wastewater is one of the biggest issues for the OxCam Arc.

As the Guardian and others have highlighted, Anglian Water, the developer partner of Cambridge City Council, is a serial offender. Feargal Sharkey, the leading campaigner on rivers, who spoke at an earlier event hosted by Friends of the River Cam said in his evidence to the House of Commons  Environmental Audit Committee: “Water companies have paid out over £60bn in dividends to shareholders while filling our rivers with sewage.” Watch at bit.ly/32vkGXg

Cambridge Market public consultation 17th May to 25th June

The public consultation, from 17th May to 5th June, is after the council elections. Campaingners say there is no Plan B and crucially no prototype of the demountable stall for traders to trial or provide input about what works for their business. See links below.

Cambridge Market Square: Issues and misleading statements relating to the public consultation



“The Life of a Market Trader” and “Market Customs and Practice” sets out the practical realities of the market and what these small businesses need for their business continuity and security.

The Cambridge Unwrapped mini documentary film “A Traditional Market in a Modern World” can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGbNScjWASc


Traders have reported the new one way system for the market is having a disastrous effect on trade. We are hearing disturbing stories about bullying and intimidation. Traders have no employment rights.

Members of the Cambridge Market community  are concerned that there is no recognition of the community value of the market, its key role in food security and resilience and equality in supporting a Wider Cambridge spectrum of jobs and small businesses : traders, artisan crafts, market gardens, nurseries, small farms, graziers , cows on commons, flood plain management, all of which make Cambridge a good place to live and support tourism. See the Sunday Times report on Ely. This year ‘joy squeezed out of Cambridge’ did not make the Sunday Times list.




The Wider Cambridge Visitor Welcome Project


Funding for this consortium, whose members include Cambridge Bid, the Councils, Fitzwilliam Enterprises Ltd ( the University Museums and Botanic Gardens) and King’s College was approved by the Combined Authority and its Business Board. Questions about the City Council Budget asked at the Scrutiny Committee included:

p 2  II4754 -New Business Opportunities on Parks and Open Spaces

p 11 CAP4787 Market Square Project




p 11 CAP4787 Market Square Project


“It is felt this scheme will deliver strong Social Value Uplift, Land-Value Uplift and economic opportunities, with an expected preferential benefit cost ratio. This makes it a strong candidate for Grant Funding based on Green Book Assessment criteria.”

In addition to Government funding, we will also be researching and pursuing funding opportunities from private foundations philanthropic benefactors, the Heritage Lottery Fund and exploring the feasibility of crowd-funding

Is the scheme likely to include any income generative element?

Yes, the scheme will enable the Council to secure additional income from maximising use of the available space provided (around the market during the day and in place of the market at night) for licensed commercial events and activities, such as films shows, theatre, concerts, night market; and restaurant/ bar outside tables/ chairs.”

Cambridge Doughnut Economics (CamDeag) are working closely with Cambridge City Council to produce a citywide ‘doughnut portrait’ and food picture to obtain the data to get grant funding. Two temporary research jobs at ARU, are funded by Cambridge 2030.  A series of interactive workshops are planned with Cambridge 2030 who are the Council and CamDeag’s partners  (information on Cambridge Food website).

Cambridge 2030



Last year ‘targeted community groups’ received a ‘Quality of Life’ survey from the Chair of the Quality of Life Group. The group includes lead members of Cambridge 2030.



The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Doubling Nature Investment Fund

Led by the Combined Authority and Natural Cambridgeshire, this aims to secure funding for the doubling nature strategy mitigating the environmental effect of the OxCamArc inward migration and building over one million houses by 2050.


P5 Nature Network Presentation from the CEO of CPPF, board member of Natural Cambridgeshire

“The City Council & charities are likely to be those providing green spaces with access for the public. A meeting has taken place between Cambridge PPF, Wildlife Trust, Nat Trust, Milton Country Park, Magog Trust, RSPB, the Botanic Garden & city council”

“The work that we have undertaken on the finances has been supported with expertise from Cambridge Ahead and is also linked to the Cambridgeshire Future Parks Accelerator Project”


Greater Cambridge Green Infrastructure Opportunity Mapping

In June 2020 the Deputy Director of Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service, writing about green infrastructure, confirmed to the FeCRA Committee: ‘The Local Plan green space evidence base study will identify priority projects, and will advise which should be included in the Local Plan, and which should be delivered through land management as opposed to development processes. This priority list will in future also inform biodiversity net gain offsetting, and bids for funding from other sources’.

Four Local Plan workshops record green site ‘opportunities’

link below

Maps recording info from 4 Technical Workshops mapping local plan green site ‘opportunities’

Zoom in to see proposals for accelerator parks, “riverscape” opportunities, food hubs, community food growing sites, orchards and suggestions for green site access.

For instance Map 1 includes a suggestion for landscaping Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits Nature Reserve, ‘privately owned but possibility to develop into a publicly accessible landscape scheme. It would enable inclusivity of water features which are limited across Greater Cambridge at present’.

This sensitive site, home to protected species. is owned by the Wildlife Trust. At Natural Cambridgeshire’s Dec 15 event Matthew Bullock, the honorary vice chair and founder of Cambridge Ahead, the business group supporting Natural Cambridgeshire’s work on nature recovery, asked: “What revenue generating opportunities from visitors have you developed on the nature reserves?”

A recent article in a community magazine featured an “artist” event on Cherry Hinton Pits organised by Cambridge Junction following discussions with the Wildlife Trust: “An unexpected opportunity in an extraordinary place”. The community cultural engagement is funded by the government’s cultural recovery fund.

See the green space evidence report (link below) Appendix 3 p 179 of 206 records the consultation.


Best wishes,


Wendy Blythe

Chair, FeCRA




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