South Cambs MP Heidi Allen Joins Liberal Democrats

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South Cambs Lib Dems are delighted to welcome Heidi Allen to the party and look forward to working with her.

The MP for South Cambridgeshire will stand as the Liberal Democrat candidate at the next election.

The seventh MP to join the Lib Dems this year, Heidi has called on others to reject the status quo and unite behind the party’s campaign to Stop Brexit.

Read more

South Cambs News September 2019

Transport updates

We have to wait a bit longer for a decision on the CAM Metro Cambridge to Cambourne route, as the Greater Cambridge Partnership has postponed this till October while more studies are completed.

Hopefully we’ll hear the outcome at around the same time that we know what route the East-West rail will take. The Lib Dems support a northern route through St Neots with a station at Cambourne, which would link thousands of residents to the London mainline as well as to Oxford, Milton Keynes and other towns.

What we don’t want is a route running via Sandy through Bassingbourn to Cambridge, which would create a semi-impermeable barrier right through the centre of South Cambs and potentially split established communities in two. There would also be the environmental damage of running a rail line through virgin farmland. The northern route, on the other hand, would hopefully hug the A428, creating a transport corridor where opportunities for environmental enhancement can be exploited to the full.

A14 victory - Highways England withdraws appeal

Following a huge number of complaints by residents affected by the A14 expansion works, Histon & Impington’s Lib Dem councillors helped to bring about South Cambs District Council’s deployment of Section 61 of the Highways Act 1980. This means the council demands stricter thresholds for noise and vibration, and requires Highways England to obtain permission for any night-working and give residents sufficient notice.

We were extremely disappointed when Highways England lodged a legal challenge against SCDS’s use of Section 61. But the Lib Dem council stood firm on protecting the health and wellbeing of residents, and Highways England recently withdrew its appeal at the eleventh hour.

Pippa Heylings, Lib Dem district councillor for Histon & Impington, Chair of the council’s Climate and Environment Advisory Committee, and recently elected Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for South East Cambs, said:

“In our last meeting with David Bray, Director of A14 Project, I let him know how disappointed I was that Highways England had made this legal challenge now that the new thresholds had made things better for residents. Communications have also been much better, which had always been a problem. I let him know that SCDC felt confident in its arguments. This has not gone the way Highways England thought it would. It thought it would create a precedent to stop other local authorities insisting on stricter conditions in residential areas. But it also creates a precedent if the local authority wins and strengthens its hand in setting adequate provision and control.”

SCDC is applying the same level of thresholds to the night-works about to take place at Bar Hill. It will also continue liaising with Highways England to make sure the A14 improvement happens as smoothly as possible, with due consideration for residents. 

Beating our target for council houses

South Cambs District Council bought 144 new council houses in August (81 at Northstowe and 63 at Sawston), using funds raised through the government’s bonus on new market homes built, as well as receipts from the Right to Buy Scheme. With the 91 council houses currently being built and the further 178 in the pipeline, the Lib Dem council continues to exceed our target of providing 70 new council houses each year. More affordable homes coming to South Cambs 

Get your skates on

We’re excited that, after 25 years in the making, the Cambridge Ice Arena is finally open! This public ice rink on Newmarket Road meets International Ice Hockey Federation standards and is also home to the Cambridge University Ice Hockey Team.

The Lib Dem South Cambs District Council provided a large loan for the rink to be completed, so that it could finally open as a new amenity for local people – let us know what you think of it!

Water pressures

We continue to experience very little rainfall in the Cambridge region and the resulting low water levels we see in the surrounding environment are starting to raise concerns among residents.

Cambridge Water has said that, while it’s not at the point of declaring a drought and it currently has enough reserves, it is very conscious of the environmental impact of having to abstract water. It has also said that pressures on supplies look to worsen in the future as the population in the region increases.

South Cambs Lib Dems recognise that we all have a part to play in conserving this precious resource. The Lib Dem district council has published proposals, in conjunction with Cambridge City, to make new housing developments as green as possible, minimising the pressure on water sources as well as carbon emissions, flood risks and pollution. Find out more  and have your say  on the proposals before 23rd September. Read more on South Cambs' green initiatives

Community Chest grants

The district council’s Community Chest scheme awards up to £1000 each to grassroots projects and good causes that benefit local residents most in need, and help to build a sense of community.

Recipients of grants in the past two months include:

  • Melbourn Mobile Warden Scheme – to pay for 50 meals at a Celebrating Ages event
  • Duxford Preschool – to provide a training workshop for staff to work in a new way
  • Sustainable Cottenham – to fund Sunday social events
  • Meldreth Village Hall Trust – to replace the stage lighting with energy-efficient alternatives
  • The George Long Charity for Swavesey Memorial Hall – to transform a derelict piece of land into a remembrance garden
  • Cottontails Preschool in Girton – for equipment that promotes intergenerational and environmental learning
  • Wilbrahams Youth Group – to buy a New Age Kurling kit

The Chair of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Grants Advisory Committee, councillor Jose Hales, said: “All of these projects do very valuable work in their communities and it’s excellent that these small grants help them to continue to make a positive difference. The benefits of the funding that we recommended at our meeting will be felt by lots of people because two of the grants will go directly towards bringing communities together for social events. This Community Chest scheme is a fantastic way of providing valuable funding to local community and voluntary groups.”

The council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Finance, Lib Dem councillor John Williams, added: “I was pleased to sign off on all of these grants because they all support excellent local good causes. We’re committed to being a modern and caring council and our Community Chest scheme is a good way of showing this. Funding remains available so I’d urge groups to submit their bids now.”

Local groups can apply for Community Chest funding here. To quality, the project or activity must achieve one or more of these aims:

  • Help promote healthy and active communities
  • Enable inclusive communities
  • Develop skills
  • Enhance the natural environment

It must also meet a local need, leave a legacy for the community and ensure equality of access.

The council also runs the Zero Carbon Communities scheme - find out more


South Cambs News August 2019

The future is green

The Lib Dems pledged to make South Cambs carbon neutral by 2050, and we are pleased to say that one of our initiatives towards this goal, the Zero Carbon Communities scheme, is now up and running, and accepting applications until 31stOctober. Community groups can bid for grants of up to £15,000 each on projects that reduce carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels, or spread awareness and promote behaviour change towards low-carbon lifestyles.

Non-profit organisations based in the district and parish councils can apply. Schools, colleges and community-interest companies can also apply as part of a partnership led by a parish council or not-for-profit group.

Funding is available for things such as:

  • Energy-saving improvements to community buildings - insulation, secondary glazing, energy-efficient lighting, battery storage for solar panels or other low-carbon energy-generation measures
  • Solar panels, wind turbines or battery storage for community use
  • Electric-vehicle charging points for community use
  • An electric vehicle for community use
  • Tree planting, to absorb carbon and increase biodiversity
  • Schemes to scale up local circular economy initiatives (food, fashion, waste, travel)
  • Cycle paths or cycle racks, for example at bus stops
  • Projects that tackle fuel poverty
  • Drinking fountains to encourage the use of reusable water bottles

Apply here

A networking and information event for potential applicants will be held at the council’s offices in Cambourne on Wednesday 4 September from 6pm to 8pm.

The chair of SCDC’s Climate and Environment Advisory Committee, councillor Pippa Heylings, said: “We put the environment at the front and centre of everything that we do as a council and this grant scheme is a fantastic way of giving a helping hand to communities who want to be greener. I’ve said many times that we are facing a climate emergency and grass-roots projects like the ones that this scheme will fund give local people the chance to make a real difference. It all contributes to our goal to be green to our core and make South Cambridgeshire a zero-carbon district by 2050.”

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South Cambs and Cambridge City have jointly published proposals to make new housing developments as green as possible, through sustainable design and construction that minimise carbon emissions (as well as running costs), flood risks, pollution and pressure on water sources. Find out more  and have your say  on the proposals before 23rd September.

Read more on our environmental initiatives

Clean streets

South Cambs District Council has overhauled its street-cleaning system to deliver more efficient and effective operations. Its cleaning teams are now assigned across five zones in the district, with their tasks of bin rounds, litter picking, fly-tip removal and dead-animal disposal consolidated, meaning more accountability in each zone.

The council has also integrated its mechanical road sweepers into the new system, with the aim of improving the monitoring, scheduling and targeting of sweeper use across the district. A maximum of five sweepers will now operate in each zone for two weeks, up to five times a year.

All street-cleaning enquiries or reporting should be sent to streets@scambs.gov.uk with as much detail of the location and supplementary information as possible.

Meanwhile SCDC staged a mock fly-tip to highlight its campaign to tackle this growing problem. A mattress, a fridge and a pallet among other things were dumped from a truck at Milton Park & Ride during morning rush hour, but surprisingly nobody called the police to report the crime. Watch the video

More than 900 fly-tips a year are recorded in South Cambs, costing hundreds of thousands to clear up. Most of them originate in well-intentioned households. What you can do to help end fly-tipping

More affordable homes completed

South Cambs District Council continues to make good on our promise to build more affordable homes. Following the 44 affordable-rent and shared-ownership properties completed in the past year, 91 council houses are currently being built across six sites, with a further 178 in the pipeline.

The council’s Lib Dem Lead Cabinet Member for Housing, Hazel Smith, said: "Our ambitious Business Plan pledges to double the number of energy-efficient council homes that are being built in South Cambridgeshire and it’s great to see that progress is already being made." Read more

Financial mismanagement revealed 

South Cambs District Council received a damning report from auditors about the previous administration’s management of the council’s finances.

The Audit and Corporate Governance Committee heard that the extent of the Conservative regime's chaotic accounting came to light with the appointment of an interim finance director last year, and that errors go back over several years. Full report

The Lib Dem leader of the current council, Bridget Smith, is pleased to give assurance that "The council’s finances are now in excellent health as we are now following accountancy rules and balancing the books."

Councillor John Williams, the council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Finance, said: "When we took over from the Tories the council’s accounts were a shambles and shockingly not in a fit state to be audited. This extraordinary and unacceptable situation was made worse by their continued failure to ensure that corrections requested by previous external auditors were done effectively and comprehensively."

Councillor Smith added: "I am relieved to report that we now have the finances under good control but because of the extent of the Tory mismanagement, as explained in the officer’s report, the auditing of last year’s accounts and those of the year before cannot be closed before this autumn. We have put measures in place to ensure this situation does not affect the setting of the budget for next year." 

Lib Dem PPC Ian Solom addresses the underfunding of schools

Ian Sollom, Lib Dem councillor for Harston and Comberton and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for South Cambs, highlighted the severe lack of government funding for South Cambridgeshire schools, and the deep concern felt among parents and teachers that this is jeopardising the education and future opportunities of children in the district.

He proposed the motion to make representations to the Secretary of State for Education and the Chancellor, calling on them to:

  • Reverse, in full, the real-terms cuts to per-pupil school budgets since 2015, meaning schools in South Cambridgeshire would receive £3,837,946 additional funding in 2020.
  • Guarantee that all basic equipment and resources, including support staff, are provided so that teachers can focus on delivering a high-quality education and the number of talented teachers leaving the profession due to excessive workload may be reduced.
  • Provide additional funding to support children with special educational needs and disabilities.
  • Fix the historic underfunding of Cambridgeshire schools by putting in place genuinely fairer funding through the National Funding Formula.

This motion was seconded by Lib Dem councillor for Milton and Waterbeach, Judith Rippeth, a former teacher, who pointed out how parents are increasingly having to fundraise for essentials such as furniture, books and play equipment. The motion was carried. Full motion

Lib Dem councillor Pippa Heylings calls for doubling nature in South Cambs

Another motion carried was one proposed by Lib Dem councillor for Histon and Impington and chair of SCDC’s Climate and Environment Advisory Committee, Pippa Heylings. Her motion called for doubling the area of rich wildlife habitats, tree cover and accessible green space in South Cambridgeshire in response to the ecological emergency we now face. She proposed that this can be done, among other things, through planning policies and development control. (Public consultation for the council's current proposals for green development is now open.) Full motion

Her motion recognised that:

  • We are facing an ecological emergency as well as a climate emergency.
  • The challenge to balance economic growth with measures to protect and enhance nature has never been more urgent, given the unprecedented investment in infrastructure in the district alongside the increasing decline in biodiversity.
  • Opportunities are available through the planning system for improving nature by embedding the 'environmental net gain' principle into development, including housing and infrastructure, in order to deliver environmental improvements.
  • The conservation and enhancement of the natural environment play a pivotal role in our economy and wellbeing, providing wide-ranging benefits such as clean water and air, food, timber, carbon capture, flood protection and recreation.

She therefore called for the council to double the area of rich wildlife habitats, tree cover and accessible green space by:

  • Ensuring the delivery of biodiversity and environmental enhancements through its planning policy and development-control functions by providing high-level guidance to support existing biodiversity policies as part of the Greater Cambridge Sustainable Design and Construction SPD and more detailed guidance for developers through the forthcoming Greater Cambridge Biodiversity SPD.
  • Enabling the development of a mandatory 'biodiversity net gain' policy for South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge through the new Joint Greater Cambridge Local Plan, ensuring that this is a core principle for all future development across the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service.
  • Identifying areas for tree planting for carbon sequestration, flood management, air quality improvement and other environmental services.
  • Adopting the Developing Nature Toolkit and directing developers to use it to assist them in demonstrating a net gain in biodiversity, to be used from the very outset of planning new developments, and ideally at the time of selecting sites to acquire for development.
  • Collaborating with local communities, parish councils and schools to encourage the planting of trees and the management of wildflower verges alongside roads.
  • Continuing to support Natural Cambridgeshire, the Local Nature Partnership (LNP), to deliver the Doubling Nature Vision for "Cambridgeshire to be an exemplar for the landscape-scale restoration of the natural environment".

A505 ignored by Mayor

The Mayor has put forward improvements to the A10 north (Cambridge - Ely) for government funding and refused South Cambs District Council's plea to also put forward the A505, which already exceeds its limited capacity.  

The Lib Dem leader of the council, Bridget Smith, had previously persuaded the Combined Authority and the Mayor to consider a project confined to upgrading the junctions on the A10 at a cost of about £40m, rather than full dualling, which will cost £500m and which the Mayor favours. Junction improvements were shown in a County Council study to be the most cost-effective option, offering significant benefits to road-users within a much shorter timeframe. The Mayor has now submitted both projects.

 

 

 


More Affordable Homes Coming to South Cambs

South Cambs District Council continues to make good on our promise to build new affordable homes. Following the 44 affordable-rent and shared-ownership properties completed in the past year, 91 council houses are currently being built across six sites, with a further 178 in the pipeline.

The Lib Dem council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Housing, Hazel Smith, said: “Our ambitious Business Plan pledges to double the number of energy-efficient council homes that are being built in South Cambridgeshire and it’s great to see that progress is already being made.”

Hazel, along with Fen Ditton and Fulbourn councillors Claire Daunton and John Williams, were pleased to help lay the first bricks of a new development of affordable homes on Balsham Road, Fulbourn in July.

The project will offer a mix of 14 one-bedroom apartments and two- and three- bedroom houses to people with a connection to the local area, to be allocated in conjunction with the council.  

Due to be completed by spring 2020, the new homes have been designed to be in-keeping with their rural surroundings. They are also being built to high energy-efficiency standards using modern construction methods. They include photovoltaic panels and thermal building fabrics, which keep heat in during winter and out during summer.

Hazel said: “I was really pleased to go and lay some bricks as part of this valuable new development of homes that will be affordable for local people to live in. Helping deliver these types of homes is one of our top priorities. As a council we’ve worked hard to get all the parties together and bring these new homes forward. Importantly, these homes will be affordable to run, meaning their new occupants will be left with a little more money to live life and have fun. I’m very impressed with how quickly they are coming out of the ground and pleased that local people trying to get on the housing ladder will soon have this helping hand.”

 


We Look Forward to Working with Our New Leader Jo Swinson

Many congratulations from all of us in South Cambs to Jo Swinson, the newly elected leader of the Liberal Democrats.

"I stand before you today not just as leader of the Liberal Democrats but as candidate for Prime Minister. I am ready to take our party into a general election and win it. Let's change politics so we can transform our country." - Read Jo’s first speech as leader


Ian Sollom, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for South Cambs, said:

“It’s fantastic to see Jo Swinson elected as leader of the Liberal Democrats - our first female leader. Jo has been a strong voice for working together to stop Brexit through her work on the People’s Vote campaign, and I’m excited to be part of her drive to build a mass liberal movement in the UK.

This was a great contest between two strong candidates and I offer commiserations to Ed Davey, who ran a brilliant campaign. The contrast with the Conservative leadership contest, with its obfuscation on the key issue of Brexit, has been stark. The Lib Dems, led by Jo, will continue to fight against the disastrous course that the Tories have set on Brexit - a course that has been consistently rejected by the voters of South Cambridgeshire, in the referendum, in the district council elections and in the European Parliament elections.”

Jo on a visit to Cambourne during the European elections, with Ian, candidate Lucy Nethsingha and South Cambs Lib Dem councillors and campaigners.

 


South Cambs News July 2019

A14 expansion works

Following a huge number of complaints by residents affected by the works, especially at night, the Lib Dem-run South Cambs District Council took the unprecedented step of introducing stricter thresholds for noise and vibration under Section 61 of the Highways Act 1980.

SCDC is extremely disappointed that Highways England has now opted to appeal against these conditions but it will be standing firm. Read more

Share your views

SCDC's new Local Plan has allocated Bourn Airfield to a community of around 3,500 homes with accompanying facilities and transport links.

The council's vision is of a sustainable, low-carbon village with plenty of green spaces and plenty of practical alternatives to using the car. The village should also have good schools, shops and a focal point where people can enjoy meeting for recreation as well as retail.

The council is now consulting the public on the development’s Supplementary Planning Document, which provides details and guidance on how the village will be built. Please get involved and have your say.

Meanwhile the Combined Authority is consulting on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Transport Plan. It is disappointingly road-focused when there is the opportunity to strive for better, more sustainable, public transport. We know that building bigger roads just encourages more cars onto them, especially when there is no alternative.

The consultation runs until 27th September 2019. Consultation events are taking place at Cambridge Central Library on Wednesday 24th July, 2pm - 9pm and Saturday 14th September, 10am - 3pm. Please do take part in the consultation to share your views.

Affordable housing fund

Part of the devolution deal was £100 million for affordable housing, to be targeted at areas where housing is least affordable. Based on this, South Cambs should have received a significant amount of money in grants, but instead the Mayor has ring-fenced £40 million for a rolling fund of loans, about 90% of which has gone to East Cambs so far.

Our SCDC leader Bridget Smith voted against a loan of more than £4 million for a developer to turn an office block in the centre of Ely into flats. Only four of the 25 flats will be in any way ‘affordable’ and four are described as penthouses. 

Continuing to pursue green initiatives

The Lib Dem council is investigating how it might be able to switch our diesel bin lorries to electric ones, as well as planning how it will reduce the amount of printed council documents.

It is also consulting on a new policy to make the district's licensed taxis greener - find out more about the proposed new licensing policy and comment 

And we are excited about supporting a new green initiative to recycle used coffee grounds, collected from cafes to be turned into biofuel.

The council has pledged to generate 25% of its income from investments, and the greener these are the better. Battery storage, solar panels and electric-vehicle charging points are all possible investment opportunities to be explored.

An overview of all our green initiatives


Local Plan: We Want to Hear Your Views on Bourn Airfield

The South Cambridgeshire Local Plan, adopted in September 2018, sets out the planning policies and land allocations to guide the future development of the district until 2031. Encompassing issues related to housing, employment, services and facilities, it emphasises affordable housing and protecting the environment. Read more about the Local Plan

Under the previous administration there were a couple of years when there was no Local Plan and no five-year housing land supply.

During that time more than 4000 houses were given planning permission in South Cambs, which would not have been under normal circumstances. Many of these houses were in the countryside and were not required to make any financial contribution to the communities they were associated with, to pay for healthcare, education or local amenities. 

With the Lib Dem adoption of a new Local Plan and a five-year housing land supply, planning laws, especially those preventing development in the countryside, are being rigorously enforced. 

Now this Local Plan has allocated the site of the Bourn Airfield to a new community of around 3,500 homes with accompanying facilities and transport links.

The vision is of a sustainable, low-carbon community with plenty of green spaces and plenty of practical alternatives to using the car. We want the new village to be a great place both to live and work. We want it to have good schools, shops and a focal point where people enjoy meeting for recreation as well as retail.

We are now consulting the public on the development’s Supplementary Planning Document, which provides details and guidance on how the village will be built. We would really like you to get involved in this major new development and have your say.

Deputy Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council and Lead Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport, Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer, said: “We really want help from local people to provide the best possible guidance for how this new development should come forward. It is an excellent chance to influence a green, low-carbon community right before a single brick is put into place. We’re always working to be green to our core and as environmentally friendly as possible, and that’s why we’re highlighting our aspirations for this site to be as kind to the environment as it can be, while delivering some of the new homes that we know we need. Please do tell us what you think of these proposals. It’s very easy to comment via our website.”

Find out more

The draft documents considered by the council 

The six-week consultation period ends on Monday 29 July. Tell us your views now!


A14 Expansion: Lib Dem Action to Protect the Wellbeing of Residents

UPDATE: Highways England has since withdrawn its legal challenge at the eleventh hour.

Pippa Heylings, Lib Dem district councillor for Histon & Impington, Chair of the council’s Climate and Environment Advisory Committee, and recently elected Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for South East Cambs, said:

“In our last meeting with the director of the A14 project, I let him know how disappointed I was that Highways England had made this legal challenge now that the new thresholds had made things better for residents... I let him know that SCDC felt confident in its arguments. This has not gone the way Highways England thought it would. It thought it would create a precedent to stop other local authorities insisting on stricter conditions in residential areas. But it also creates a precedent if the local authority wins.”


South Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats were appalled and saddened by media reports of one particular resident who lives close to the ongoing A14 expansion works.

Sarah Hall, who lives near the Girton interchange, has spoken out about the impact of the noise and nightworks over the past four years. She says the relentless disruption contributed to the breakdown of her marriage and requires her to home-school her five-year-old daughter, who is too exhausted to attend school due to sleep deprivation.

Following a huge number of complaints by residents affected by the works, the Lib Dem-controlled South Cambs District Council took the unprecedented step of demanding stricter thresholds for noise and vibration, and establishing its monitoring and enforcement powers, under Section 61 of the Highways Act 1980.

The council consulted experts and set the conditions based on other major infrastructure projects across the country. This enabled the council to insist that Highways England follow requirements that uphold residents’ legal rights to protection against health-damaging noise and vibration levels during the project – something it was not previously doing. This should mean much less night-working, just around the time of exams for GCSE and A Level students.

The Lib Dem council is extremely disappointed that Highways England has now opted to take out an appeal against these conditions.

Pippa Heylings, district councillor for Histon & Impington and Chair of the council’s Climate and Environment Advisory Committee, said:

"The Lib Dem council have put their foot down and stood up for local residents by requiring strict thresholds of noise from Highways England. Excessive noise and vibrations leading to sleep deprivation is hugely detrimental to wellbeing, as can be seen in the nightmare being lived by Sarah Hall. There are laws in place to protect Sarah and all residents who are suffering like her. We are working very closely with the A14 Delivery Team to improve communication with residents and noise-mitigation measures.

I am, therefore, extremely disappointed with Highways England’s decision to take out an appeal against us as a local authority. This is the story of David and Goliath. Such an appeal has significant legal costs, but we will not allow Highways England to ride roughshod over our residents when the council has proposed very sensible processes to work co-operatively to minimise the harm while enabling Highways England to do its work. Highways England should stand by its Considerate Code for Constructors award, withdraw its appeal, and show that it can build a road on time and on budget whilst respecting the wellbeing of residents.”

There have been some positive results from the enforcement of planning conditions so far. Highways England has improved communications with residents by providing ten-day advance notifications of nightworks and road closures. Highways England and South Cambs are also working with residents on landscaping plans to restore the Green Gateway to Histon, Impington and Orchard Park, something that can truly leave a positive legacy in the area following the completion of the road.

 


The Lib Dem Vision for a Greener South Cambs in Action

Protecting and enhancing the environment are at the heart of the Lib Dem-controlled South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Business Plan for 2019-2024. Our goal of creating a cleaner, greener, low-carbon future for the district informs everything we do. We are working with urgency to deal with the climate and ecological emergency facing us all. 

We have pledged to make South Cambs carbon-neutral by 2050, not just in terms of the council’s own property and operations but in terms of the entire district. This will be achieved through planning policies for housing, energy and transport, and through waste management among many other things.

Cambridgeshire is one of the UK’s least biodiverse counties and among those with the fewest trees. It is also one of the most water-stressed. At the same time, it is one of the fastest-growing counties. So, as well as avoiding adverse impacts on the environment from this growth, we want to ‘double nature’ in the county by increasing the amount of rich wildlife habitat and green space, and also by increasing tree cover by 50%. The role of nature in our physical and mental health is beyond dispute; for instance trees are now proven to reduce noise as well as absorbing and filtering pollution.

We are continually exploring opportunities for green energy generation, greater energy efficiency, more recycling and improving air quality.

So far we have:

  • Eliminated the procurement and use of single-use plastics at the council within just three months.
  • Put in place a full recycling system at the council offices, where minimal recycling was being carried out previously.
  • Installed solar panels on the roof of the Waterbeach waste depot, which are providing 25% of the energy the plant needs.
  • Set targets for increasing household recycling and reducing the total volume of black bin waste. We aim to achieve these through information campaigns and working with resident groups.
  • Initiated the drafting of a two-year climate change action plan. In partnership with Cambridge University, we will produce a baseline of current carbon emissions from all sectors, and scenarios of projected emissions as a result of current growth plans in transport, construction, housing, etc. We will use this as a basis for decision-making about what we can do directly and indirectly as a council to radically reduce carbon emissions.
  • Launched the Zero Carbon Communities grant scheme, which provides funds to local groups for measures that reduce their carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Included a green investment stream in our new Business Plan’s investment strategy.
  • Begun to tackle the growing problem of fly-tipping, with proposed initiatives such as gating Setchel Drove in Cottenham, and staging a mock fly-tip to highlight the issue.
  • Launched a public consultation on making our taxis greener.
  • Supported an initiative to convert used coffee grounds from cafes into biofuel.
  • Launched a public consultation on proposals to make new housing developments as green as possible through sustainable design and construction that minimise carbon emissions (as well as running costs), flood risks, pollution and pressure on water sources.

Going forward, we plan to:

  • Impose high environmental standards on new homes, in the form of sustainable design and construction that minimise carbon emissions (as well as running costs), flood risks, pollution and pressure on water sources.
  • Ensure new homes are built close to places of employment to reduce commuting, and work with partners to make sure walking, cycling and public transport improvements provide alternatives to using the private car.
  • Replace 1800 footway lights with LED, which will save 60-70% energy.
  • Provide electric-vehicle charging points.
  • Install new air-quality monitors in hotspots across the district, such as schools on busy roads.
  • Audit our stock of council houses and retrofit them with insulation and other energy-saving measures, to keep people warm, and reduce both their energy bills and their carbon emissions.
  • Make Biodiversity Net Gain a mandatory consideration in planning.
  • Trial electric vehicles in our recycling and waste services.
  • Incentivise taxi operators to switch to electric vehicles.

European Elections: Victory for Remain in South Cambs

Euros_bar_chart.JPG

 

What a fantastic result - the Liberal Democrats won 38.1% of South Cambridgeshire votes in the European election, and two wonderful Lib Dem MEPs, Barbara Gibson and Lucy Nethsingha, will be representing East of England in Brussels. Our Remain voice is being heard loud and clear in a constituency that saw one of the highest turnouts in the country (48.31%).

A huge thank you to all of our supporters and our members who worked very hard to achieve this brilliant result, especially with such a short run-up to the election. 

On the national level, the Lib Dems have followed up the recent local elections triumph of 704 new councillors with 16 MEPs and 20% of the vote share in the European election, not forgetting the amazing win for Naomi Long, a new MEP for Alliance, our sister party in Northern Ireland.

We will keep working hard to give this set of diverse and fantastic MEPs their full term, fighting for liberal values in Europe and trying every way we can to stop Brexit. 


South Cambs LibDems condemn Mayor James Palmer’s interference in a major planning application

South Cambs Liberal Democrats condemn Mayor James Palmer’s interference in a major planning application as an ‘intolerable affront to local democracy’

Leading councillors in Lib-Dem run South Cambridgeshire have expressed their anger at the way in which Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor James Palmer has intervened in the planning application for a controversial proposal by SmithsonHill for an Agritech park in the countryside.
Read more

South Cambs' Lib Dem Council One Year On

It's a year since the Lib Dems' big election victory saw us take control of South Cambs District Council from the Conservatives. So what have the 30-strong Lib Dem Group been up to in the past year? Here's a roundup of some of our achievements.

Read more

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