Save Honey Hill campaigners stage auction to raise cash for fight against Anglian Water sewage works move
Campaigners trying to prevent a sewage works being relocated to a beauty spot near their villages are holding an auction to raise money for legal fees to fight their case.
The Save Honey Hill group is running the auction of promises – which include offers of home-cooked meals and dog walking – in a bid to save the cash for a carbon survey of the proposed move of Milton sewage works to Honey hill in Horningsea.
And they hope to employ a barrister to represent them in an appeal if the sewage works relocation is approved by planners.
The Honey Hill site – between Fen Ditton and Horningsea – was selected last year following the decision to reclaim the existing sewage works near Milton for the North East Cambridge housing project.
The government has allocated £227million from its housing infrastructure funding (HIF) to Anglian Water and Cambridge City Council to fund the relocation.
Laurie Woolfenden, from the Save Honey Hill campaign, said: “Every donation to us, however small, is valuable. We have raised around £27,000 so far but we believe we will need at least £50,000 to cover our legal costs. We think the fact we have already raised so much money shows how strongly people oppose this relocation of the sewage works from Milton to Horningsea.
“Anglian Water reckons the construction phase will be four years. And there will be a lot of local disruption during that period, both in Milton, obviously, and here, but that’s just a minor consideration compared to the impact it would have on the whole area.
“If it does go ahead, it will cost 227million, and likely a lot more than that – millions in taxpayers’ money to move the sewage works one mile down the road when we know that the current sewage works has at least another 30 years worth of capacity in it. Anglian Water has said there’s absolutely no operational reason for them to move. And you just think in the current economic climate this is bonkers.
“The auction of promises is a nice way to bring the community together and we have had 60 promises made so far. Some people have offered to go and cook a meal and deliver it to people’s houses. We’ve got somebody else who’s offering punting and champagne, as well as gardening, computer lessons and dog walking, cakes and local honey.”
The existing sewage plant at Milton was upgraded in 2015 and future-proofed till 2050. Anglian Water insists the move is only being considered to allow Cambridge City Council to develop the land for housing.
Campaigners warn the sewage plant will be bigger than Wembley Stadium and floodlit and there will be multiple sewage digester towers, over 20 metres high. An estimated 140 HGV sludge lorries are expected to enter and exit the site daily along a busy local road.
Campaigner Margaret Starkie said: “Anglian Water say that once operational the new sewage works would be carbon neutral, but what about the carbon cost of the move itself? Their calculations are based on the operation at the site only, and doesn’t include the decommissioning and decontamination of the current site, for this is likely to be an enormous carbon footprint because they’ve not only got to take it down and there’s a great deal of concrete cement involved. But they have to decontaminate the site as well and then build the new plant here. We want to commission a report into the carbon footprint of the project – we think it might be significant. We have taken legal advice but we will need more so that is why we are trying to raise this money.”
An Anglian Water spokesperson said the relocation will enable local authorities to create the new low-carbon North East Cambridge district on the city’s last major brownfield site, and that an environmental statement required by the Development Consent Order (DCO) would assess the carbon impact.
“This will include decommissioning the existing site, construction of the proposed waste water treatment plant (embedded carbon in materials), land use change (the net impact of land permanently required for the proposed development), operation of the proposed waste water treatment plant (WWTP) and decommissioning of the existing Cambridge WWTP,” explained the spokesperson. “The new facility will significantly reduce carbon emissions compared to the existing Cambridge facility and will be operationally net zero and energy neutral.”
The Save Honey Hill auction will be on Saturday, September 17 starting 7pm. Tickets cost £1 and include a glass of wine. Visit savehoneyhill.org to book a place.