Press release: Cambridge Green Party challenges net zero claims of major city development

10 January 2022

Green City Councillor Hannah Copley has accused local authorities of “creative carbon accounting” in development plans for North East Cambridge.

The proposal to move a sewage works and build thousands of new homes is being promoted as a sustainable project in line with the vision for Cambridge to be net zero carbon by 2030.

But Cllr Copley believes the demolition and rebuilding of the works is unnecessary and the environmental consequences of doing so have not been properly assessed. She also raises concern about the proposed development creating many more new jobs than new homes - 15,000 and 8,350 respectively - and therefore only increasing the city’s housing shortage.

Cllr Copley, who represents Abbey ward, said “The North East Cambridge development can only go ahead if the sewage works moves, and the sewage works is only moving so that the land can be developed.

“These two projects are intrinsically linked. When assessing the carbon footprint of the proposed development, we need to include the entire lifetime carbon emissions of the destruction, rebuilding and relocation of the new sewage works.

“The site also proposes new jobs in great excess to new homes – where will those working there live and what about everyone struggling for housing already?”

The use of concrete and other building materials requires massive carbon emissions, and the emissions of unnecessarily demolishing, relocating and building the sewage works have not been taken into account. Anglian Water have confirmed that the current water treatment works are fit for purpose - as they should be after they were given a multi-million pound upgrade as recently as 2014.

Worse still, Anglian Water have chosen an area within Cambridge’s Green Belt, Honey Hill, as the preferred location for the new works.

Cambridge Green Party has joined residents in objecting strongly to this unnecessary loss of green belt land.

Matt Howard, local Green Community Support Officer, said: “The Cambridge Green Belt is being dismantled piece by piece. We now hear that the new Police Station will be built on green belt land as well.

"Each of these projects is presented as a ‘one-off’ but it’s becoming increasingly clear that building on the Green Belt is just business as usual.”

Cllr Copley has raised these issues ahead of a meeting of the city council’s Planning and Transport Scrutiny Committee meeting on Tuesday (January 11).

She said: “My key question to the Committee would be why are they not speaking out against a project that requires the completely unnecessary destruction and rebuilding of the waste water treatment works, and the loss of Green Belt land, in the context of a declared climate emergency?


Images: Councillor Hannah Copley and Community Support Officer Matt Howard

Councillor Hannah CopleyMatt Howard

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