Saturday, 31 August 2013

No Water?

You're not alone ... Apparently there is a burst water-main between here and Longstanton. 

There's no news on when water will be restored, but the update from Cambridge Water is available here;

 http://www.cambridge-water.co.uk/home/alert-overview?qry=emergencies


Thursday, 29 August 2013

Rogue Traders Made To Pay For Their Crimes

More than £250,000 confiscated from Rogue Trader gang

A team of rogue traders and money launderers who were previously sentenced to more than 28 years in prison have today been ordered to hand over £253,000 they made from their crimes.

Norwich Crown Court today (August 29) ordered the confiscation of their assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act. These assets will be used to compensate the many elderly and vulnerable victims targeted by the team.

The case follows a three year investigation by Cambridgeshire County Council’s Financial Investigation Team which supported the substantive criminal investigation conducted by the County Council’s Trading Standards Service and Cambridgeshire Police (Operation Magpie)

It saw their powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 used to not only trace and restrain the defendants ill gotten gains and provide evidence of money laundering but also to uncover further victims who had not reported the crimes out of fear.

Joseph Henry Lee, of Chesterton in Cambridge, who was sentenced by Cambridge Crown Court to seven and half years in prison, was ordered to pay £148,634 by Norwich Crown Court today. His wife Beverley Lee £52,204, Joseph Bellman Jonathan Lee £40,000, James William Forrest £5,642, Kelly Gray £2,695. Trevor Nockolds £2,600 This follows the earlier confiscation of nearly £9,700 from launderer Phillip Carr in 2011 as part of the same case, which was returned to his elderly Cambridge victim.

The investigation revealed that the gang ripped off over one hundred customers, some of whom handed over their life savings as grossly-inflated payment for poor quality and often unnecessary work the conmen undertook.

The prosecution also saw a number of the defendants prosecuted for money laundering, having cashed victims cheques through their own bank accounts on behalf of the ringleaders who wished to distance themselves from the criminality. These money launderers would take a cut of typically ten per cent for providing this service.

Cllr Mathew Shuter, Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Enterprise said: “We welcome the orders made by Norwich Crown Court today. It is important that these criminals are not able to benefit from the wealth they have accumulated at the expense of their victims. Furthermore, in many cases the victims had lost their life savings to these rogues, so I am delighted that as a County Council we were able to fully utilise the powers of our Financial Investigations Unit to claw back the money from these criminals and return it to their victims. ”

If you think that someone you know may have been a victim of a rogue trader, please contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0845 4040506.

Danny Alexander Hails Women Of Afghanistan As The Future Of Democracy

The new funding will help more than 50 female MPs and 100 female provincial councillors with training in essential political skills and will go to encouraging women to vote and take part in the 2014 Presidential and Provincial elections and the 2015 Parliamentary elections.

Despite recent progress in women's rights in Afghanistan, women still face very significant challenges, from physical violence to psychological abuse. A 2012 survey by the Asia Foundation found that almost half (46%) of those surveyed believed that men should advise or be consulted before a woman votes.

Danny Alexander heard from Afghan women about how they are seeking to overcome these challenges and play an active role in the country's upcoming elections.

Danny Alexander said:

"To truly rebuild Afghanistan, we have to get women voting and standing for election. Women are the key to building a democratic and safe country. They are the future of Afghanistan. Having taken Afghanistan out of the hands of terrorists, we are now working hard to return it to the people. This extra funding will help women lead the way."

"Education is a key part of improving the lives of Afghanistan's women and girls. It is critical to upholding women's rights and improving their job opportunities. There are no short-term, quick-fix solutions.

"Around six million children regularly attend school. This includes well over two million girls, compared with virtually none under the Taliban. The support which the UK is providing to education and female participation in elections will play a big part in improving the lives of generations of Afghan women and girls."

Danny Alexander Visits Troops In Afghanistan

Arriving late on Monday evening, he spent the night at main UK base Camp Bastion, before visiting one of the few remaining small patrol bases still operated by British troops to talk with those serving there about the progress made as they train and advise Afghan forces.

The number of British bases has reduced over time as the Afghan National Security Forces have taken the lead for security across Helmand Province. The growing capability of Afghan forces has allowed British troops to move from a combat role to one of mentoring and training.

Danny Alexander said:

"I was impressed to see the work that British troops are doing to help Afghan forces to operate by themselves and take on the security challenges facing the Afghan government.

"I have nothing but admiration for the professionalism with which our Armed Forces take on this challenge.

"My time here has shown once again this is a hugely professional Armed Forces that we are proud to have as a country. The job that's being done here in Afghanistan is first rate and I've been hugely impressed by what I've seen."

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Cambridge MP Joins Fight To Save Arts Picturehouse

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert has joined the fight to save the city’s Arts Picturehouse after fears that it could be sold.

Julian has written to the Competition Commission which is investigating the acquisition last year of the Picturehouse and 20 other cinemas across the UK by giant cinema group, Cineworld.

It is feared that Cineworld could be forced to sell Cambridge’s Arts Picturehouse along with other cinemas to lessen competition.

Julian told David Saunders, Chief Executive of the Competition Commission that he had been contacted by a number of constituents who were concerned about the Commission’s report into the issue.

“My understanding is that one of the possible remedies in the report is that the cinemas could be sold to a competing owner, which has led to the fear of the Arts Picturehouse being sold or closed among a number of people in Cambridge,” he said.

“Generations of Cambridge residents and students, including myself, have greatly valued the Picturehouse because it offers independent, art-house and foreign language films that are not often found in the programmes of the larger cinemas. It is also the only city centre cinema in Cambridge, which makes it an ideal location for the students at the two universities in the city to visit.”

Julian said later: “I am a huge fan of the Picturehouse and believe it would be a great loss to the city if it were changed or closed.

“It screens a range of films and programmes that are not offered by the big cinema chains and I am worried that if it were closed those events could be lost with it.

“I hope that the Competition Commission will give serious consideration to the concerns of cinemagoers across Cambridge when compiling its report.”

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Petition: Water And Sanitation Are A Human Right by Cllr Jean Swanson

Cllr Jean Swanson (LD, Queen Ediths)
The following text came from Cambridge’s twinned City, Heidelberg. If you wish to sign the petition, before 9 September, the link is at the end. Select the Union Jack for the English version.

Water is a public good, not a commodity. We invite the European Commission to propose legislation implementing the human right to water and sanitation as recognised by the United Nations, and promoting the provision of water and sanitation as essential public services for all. The EU legislation should require
governments to ensure and to provide all citizens with sufficient and clean drinking water and sanitation. We urge that:
  1. The EU institutions and Member States be obliged to ensure that all inhabitants enjoy the right to water and sanitation.
  2. Water supply and management of water resources not be subject to ‘internal market rules’ and that water services are excluded from liberalisation.
  3. The EU increases its efforts to achieve universal access to water and sanitation.
You can sign the petition on the website: http://www.right2water.eu/de

Paradise Nature Reserve – Details Of Scheme (Newnham, Cambridge)

As residents are aware the work on Paradise Nature Reserve will start at the end of September. Ward Councillors thought it would be useful for residents to see the proposals that will be undertaken as part of the scheme (see here).

The work will take up to ten weeks and will involve the closure of Driftway, Lammas Land car park and the recycling centre located in Lammas Land Car Park. An alternative route for cyclists and pedestrians will be established via Lammas Land.

Original article available here.

BHA: The Legacy of Section 28

Last week we identified a total of 46 schools which, in their sex and relationships education policies, still either replicated the controversial section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 which forbade local authorities from promoting homosexuality in schools, or stated that the law (which was repealed in 2003) is still in force.

Section 28 stated that a local authority 'shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality' or 'promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship'. In practice, the effect of this meant that teachers were unable to prevent homophobic bullying, unable to answer questions from students and pupils regarding homosexuality, and it led to the closure of a number of lesbian, gay and bisexual student support groups in schools and colleges.

Since the revelation, which gained widespread media coverage including front page coverage in The Independent and our Schools Campaigner, Richy, discussing the issue on Sky News, the UK and Welsh Governments launched investigations, and a majority of the schools concerned have removed the relevant statements or have committed to reviewing their policies, which is to be commended. However a lot of the problems stem from the current Sex and Relationship Education Guidance, which dates from 2000 (prior to when Section 28 was repealed). The guidance says that there should be 'no direct promotion of sexual orientation', which we are concerned is unclear and could lead to misunderstandings in schools. This guidance urgently needs updating.

We would recommend that any school concerned about this issue would do well to look at the Sex Education Forum‘s resources and guidance, as well as the specific guidance from the PSHE Association, or they can get in touch with Stonewall, and take part in their training.

Forum Set Up To Help Businesses And Residents Work Together In Meldreth

Cllr Susan van de Ven
A community liaison group in Meldreth has been set up to help local businesses and residents work together to discuss and resolve any issues around commercial activities in the station area.

At a public meeting on Thursday (22 August) to discuss noise generated from Eden Farm Ltd’s food distribution centre in Station Yard, company bosses, South Cambridgeshire District Council representatives, local councillors and residents agreed to set up the regular forum.

The forum is expected to help the parties discuss planning and environmental health issues – especially noise and traffic – and agree voluntary action to make sure the business continues to be a valued part of the community.

Cllr Nick Wright, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member responsible for business, said: “This forum is an excellent way for local firms and residents to discuss any upcoming proposals or tackle issues that have come up collectively. It is really positive that Eden Farm is taking this voluntary action and shows how much they value their role in the community. As a Council we are fully behind supporting businesses but we also want to make sure they listen to the needs and concerns of local people.”

Cllr Susan van de Ven, local member for Meldreth on South Cambridgeshire District Council who initiated the group, said: “I’m very pleased we have been able to establish this forum and hope it will be as successful as the model they’ve used in Barrington, where a group of residents and councillors worked with Cemex to minimise disruption caused by the works at the quarry. This is a chance for Eden Farm to run their business in a community-minded way. There have been some encouraging signs and I hope we will see significant improvements in the coming weeks.

“South Cambridgeshire District Council’s officers have provided excellent support and in the long run it saves everyone time and trouble if we can sort problems out together.”

Jim Palmer from Eden Farm Ltd, said: “We have attended both the liaison group and several other meetings with neighbours, councillors and planners over recent weeks. We realise that a problem which has existed for several years, prior to our take over last year, needs our active involvement to remedy wherever possible. Whilst we have no magic wand to give an instant solution we are actively exploring the best way forward and seek only to live and let live with our neighbours. It should be added that we have received a lot of encouragement and advice from South Cambridgeshire District Council as well as several villagers. One major step is to have full mains electricity installed to eliminate the round the clock use of a standby generator and we are promised this will be coupled up within the next two weeks."

The next meeting is expected to be held in a month’s time, and then the forum is likely to be held about twice a year.

Mr Tumble Joins The Team To Help With First Class Service

Mr Tumble, Postman Pat and Bob the Builder have been called into action to help people visiting South Cambridgeshire District Council’s offices.

Children’s TV is one of the features available on four new kiosks in the Council’s Cambourne offices which have been installed so residents have more access to online services.

Just days after the self service kiosks were installed and the first users have praised the new system which is helping them apply for housing, pay bills and keep children entertained while speaking to Council staff.

The kiosks are part of the Council’s plans to improve the service it offers while providing better facilities to allow residents to carry out more transactions online.

They follow the launch of a new and improved Council website which allows residents to more easily request services, report problems and make payments and a move last year that brought the Council’s contact centre back in-house – saving taxpayers £250,000 a year.

Lesley Barden from Great Cambourne who recently visited the Council’s offices said: “The self service kiosks were really helpful on my visit as they kept the kids entertained so I could speak to Council officers and find out what I needed without any distractions.”

Cllr David Whiteman-Downes, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for corporate and customer services, said: “People lead incredibly busy lives and we want to make sure we utilise technology to makes accessing services and contacting us as easy and flexible as possible. The new kiosks in reception mean people can come in and serve themselves if they prefer while also allowing children to be entertained while we help answer any questions.”

Visit www.scambs.gov.uk and click on the pay for it, apply for it, or report it buttons to see how you can use the Council’s website to get more transactions done online.

Why The Dutch Version Of The Balance Of Competence Review Will Not Please The Brits

Andrew Duff MEP
The Netherlands has been viewed as a natural ally for the UK in efforts to reform the European Union. Andrew Duff MEP looks at the Dutch government's policies on European integration and the outcome of the country's recent 'subsidiarity review', published in June. He argues that despite containing some useful advice, the review does not rise to the occasion. Moreover the government's refusal to advocate a new treaty is not only misguided, but also puts it at odds with the UK's Conservative Party.

One of the stranger scenes in recent Dutch politics was the sight of David Cameron greeting the congress of Mark Rutte's Dutch Liberals (VVD), albeit by video link. In terms of European party politics this made no sense. The VVD is a founding member of the broadly pro-federalist Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) while the British Tories form the kernel of the avowedly anti-federalist European Conservative Reform Group (ECR). The two groups glare and snipe at each other across the hemicycle of the European Parliament. Strictly speaking, it should have been the (half-Dutch) Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg feted by the VVD. But it is Cameron and Rutte who fondly believe themselves to be like minded.

So how close, really, is the EU policy of the British and Dutch governments? At a superficial level, there are strong similarities. Public opinion has driven almost the entire political class in both countries to adopt a Eurosceptical posture. The Dutch referendum campaign of 2005, which so decisively killed off the constitutional treaty, saw the mainstream pro-European parties firmly on the defensive. Even the most federalist of political parties, D66, was moved to argue that Holland would be not much less Dutch with the new treaty than without it.

Come the financial crisis, almost scuppering the euro, the Netherlands adopted an even more Eurosceptic position. The prospect of having to bail out impoverished, lazy and faintly corrupt Mediterranean Europe appals Dutch taxpayers. Although the PVV of Geert Wilders and the left-wing Socialist Party have been effectively excluded from government after the 2012 elections, they both continue to march to the beat of the nationalist drum. The VVD-PvDA coalition lives in fear that whatever happens next in Europe will amplify that beat. In order to show off their new Eurosceptic credentials, Rutte and Labour party Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans announced a major 'subsidiarity review' of Dutch EU policy - begging comparisons with the UK's home-grown 'competence review'.

Dutch subsidiarity review

The result of the review, announced in June, is instructive. Many were consulted - but not apparently Dutch MEPs. Nor is the European Parliament referred to even once in the final report, despite the fact that nothing that the government wants can be achieved without the agreement of the European Parliament. Funny that - especially as Timmermans was an engaged member of the Convention which drew up the constitutional treaty, happily extending Parliament's powers in almost every direction.

The review adopts an overwhelmingly negative tone about the EU as a whole and especially about the European Commission of José Manuel Barroso. The Dutch government 'is convinced that the time of an "ever closer union" in every possible policy area is behind us - as the result of the 2005 referendum on the Constitutional Treaty made clear, the Dutch people were, and still are, discontented with a Union that is continually expanding its scope, as if this were a goal in itself'. The government therefore threatens to take a strictly limited view of the competences conferred on the EU under the treaty. The European Commission will be granted no latitude of interpretation of legal bases and will be discouraged from exercising its own political judgement.

There is much useful advice: better ex-ante impact assessments and more ex-post review of EU law. The Commission should be more sensitive to how its proposals will work on the ground in each and every corner of the Union. A more proactive attitude should be adopted to adapt legislation to take into account judgments of the Court of Justice. The appointment of the new Commission in 2014 should be used to re-assess priorities. What the Netherlands wants is: 'a more modest, more sober but more effective EU, starting from the principle: "at European level only when necessary, at national level whenever possible"'.

The Dutch paper is not without its own inconsistencies, however. For example, looser directives are preferred to tighter regulation, despite the fact that this can let member states less scrupulous than the Netherlands off the hook when it comes to the thorough implementation of EU law. Some 54 specific points are listed 'for action'. Many of these refer to draft measures currently subject to the ordinary legislative procedure (and therefore to be co-decided with the invisible European Parliament). None are revolutionary. Some are depressing for those who wish to see the EU reach its full potential at home and abroad. The review paints a picture of a functionalist EU, largely devoid of political ambition. No effort is made to discover economies of scale or cost efficient European added value: only the national and not the European side of the subsidiarity principle is observed. The main gripe is that EU law is disproportionate to the matter in hand.

Lessons from the financial crash appear not to have emerged in Dutch thinking. 'The EU budget should not grow faster than national budgets'. The government opposes the idea of a new fiscal capacity for the Eurozone with countercyclical purposes: 'Economic stabilisation can best take place at national level'. Direct taxation remains 'a national prerogative'. The Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base is a bad idea. As far as indirect taxation is concerned, the Netherlands 'seeks to preserve national freedom'. The Commission is blamed at the same time both for seeking to iron out differences in taxation by way of infringement proceedings and for not taking simultaneous action against all errant member states.

In some areas, such as family law or the telecoms package, previous Dutch governments are blamed for having agreed to things which this one regrets. In any case, the potential of the Lisbon treaty in the harmonisation of criminal law should not now be realised; nor should consular services be transferred to the EU level. The EU programme for school milk and fruit should be scrapped. The EU noise directive should not apply to Schiphol because the airport is too far away from other member states for its roar to have cross-border effects. EU environmental legislation in general has put 'too much of an emphasis on means (rather than ends)'. Bilateral agreements between states are a better instrument than EU law, for example, on tax approximation, flood risk management and tunnel safety. In other areas, such as CO2 emissions, worldwide legislation would be better than EU law. In the field of social policy, the Open Method of Coordination - now discarded by most - is preferred to EU legislation: 'no attempts should be made to bring about further harmonisation of social security systems'.

It is clear on reading the 54 sections they have only been agreed after a laborious drafting process between different ministries and the two coalition partners. In more than one case the seams show. What is equally revealing is what was struck off the grumble list. Nothing is said about common foreign, security and defence policy, trade policy, the Common Agricultural Policy, Common Fisheries Policy, or overseas development. There is no systematic, comprehensive reaction to the plans for banking union, economic governance and fiscal union, which forms the big agenda in Brussels. And, oddly, there is no word either on improving the Union's democratic accountability or on strengthening its global competitiveness.

So what?

So what should we draw from this rather strange exercise in the Low Countries? Both those who have come to hate the EU, as well as those of us who wish the EU well, will be disappointed.

The British Tories, slavering over their own unilateral review of EU competences and powers, are sad to see no specific attack on their hated Working Time Directive. Above all, the Tory Brits deplore the conclusion drawn by the Dutch that there is no case for treaty change: 'The Netherlands is not aiming at treaty change or opt-outs, but at an inclusive process to revise existing legislation and reach political agreement on future priorities for legislation'. In his press release, Timmermans said: 'The government emphasises that it is not aiming at treaty change. The Netherlands fully accepts the existing distribution of competences. It is the division of tasks that it is aiming to discuss: is everything that the EU currently does really necessary?'

The firm rejection of opt-outs pitches the Dutch against the Tory plan for British disengagement from the EU. Here they will have the support of the Germans. But the Dutch refusal to contemplate treaty change puts them in an awkward position vis-à-vis all their partners. The British government badly needs treaty change in order to justify its renegotiation of the terms of UK membership. Other governments and their constitutional courts have come to accept the need for treaty change which will codify and consolidate the deeper integration implied by the moves to banking union, fiscal union and political union. The fiscal compact treaty (signed by the Dutch but not the Brits) already foresees its own full incorporation into the EU framework. The European Commission and European Parliament, rightly concerned to enhance the democratic legitimacy of the governance of the Union, will push for a general revision of the Treaty of Lisbon by way of a Convention opening in spring 2015.

The treaty change process is triggered by a simple majority vote of the European Council, as Margaret Thatcher once discovered to her fury. The European Parliament has the right to insist on the holding of a Convention, and will do so in these circumstances. So the Netherlands has no chance of stopping the opening up of a major treaty negotiation, a process which, if successful, will certainly conclude by ratification in 2017 through referendums in several member states, including the UK and the Netherlands.

So far neither London nor The Hague have offered their voters a worthy prospectus for the future of Europe.

Note: This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of EUROPP - European Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics.

Friday, 23 August 2013

GDP Upgrade Encouraging

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson, Stephen Williams said:
"Fixing the economy was always going to take time, but these upgraded figures are another encouraging sign that the economy is on the mend. 
"After wrecking the economy, Labour spent the last years rubbishing the Coalition's growth plan. They were wrong. Slowly but surely the economy is recovering.  
"The Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy and a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life. Getting growth going and creating jobs is at the heart of that. We have helped businesses create a million jobs, now we want to help create a million more."

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Bank Holiday Bin Collection Changes In South Cambridgeshire

Blue, green and black bins across South Cambridgeshire villages will be collected one day later than normal next week following the bank holiday weekend.

As bin collections will be one day later collection crews will be working on the Saturday at the end the week to catch up on collections that would normally be made on a Friday.

All collections will return to the normal scheduled day from Monday 2 September.

For the latest information, and to check the day your bins will be collected, you can also follow South Cambridgeshire District Council on Twitter '@southcambs', use the bin day collection finder by going to www.scambs.gov.uk or look in the centre pages of the Council's residents' magazine which is delivered to all homes.

High Capacity Cycle Stand Trial

Cambridge City Council are currently trialling a new design of high capacity cycle stand, as part of its major project to significantly increase the amount of secure cycle parking in the city centre.

The new cycle racks are a revision of the existing style of high capacity rack found in some locations in the city centre. This particular stand design facilitates closer spacing, is also shorter and therefore requires less space when empty. It also provides a fixed position for securing cycles to it, therefore reducing the risk of obstructions in confined pavement areas.

The trial location can be found in the small square next to Drummer Street Bus Station on Christ’s Lane. Cyclists are encouraged to try out these new stands and provide the City Council with their feedback by taking part in a short online survey by visiting www.surveymonkey.com/s/high-capacity-trial

A display board with QR code is also available at the trial location.

Tim Ward, Executive Councillor for Planning and Climate Change said: "These cycle stands have been designed to accommodate higher density cycle parking whilst minimising their impact on the public realm. I hope cyclists will take the opportunity to trial them and provide their feedback to inform the final design."

New Bus Shelter Programme Starts

Cllr Tim Ward
A City Council funded programme to upgrade bus shelter facilities across the city started last week. The £267,000 project aims to replace the ageing shelter stock and provide twelve brand new shelter locations that were prioritised by the four City Council Area Committees.

Councillor Tim Ward, Executive Councillor for Planning and Climate Change said: "This project will deliver improved facilities for those using public transport, particularly for people who rely heavily on the services they provide, at the same time hopefully attracting others to take up this sustainable form of transport."

The work is due to be complete by December 2013.

Come To Cambridge Markets This Bank Holiday Weekend

This Monday 26th August the Market Square hosts the Bank Holiday Market where not only will you find traders from the General Market, but also traders from the Sunday Arts, Crafts & Local Produce Market.  So, come along to Cambridge Markets this Bank Holiday Weekend and browse amongst the fabulous array of goods on offer!

As usual this bank holiday weekend we will have the General Market which takes place Monday to Saturday in the Market Square. This market is a hive of activity with around 100 stalls offering a wide selection of goods from fruit & vegetables, fresh food, CDs, mobile phone accessories, clothes, gifts & flowers to sweets, jewellery, books and recycled goods. There are also a number of services offered on the market including tailoring stalls, bicycle repairs and two ladies & gents hairdressers!

Councillor Andrea Reiner says,
“The General Market has such a great variety of stalls & it really does cater for customers looking for both the unusual & the more traditional items. New stalls are arriving all the time so come take a look - you never know what you might find!"
The Market Square also hosts a flourishing Arts, Crafts & Local Produce Market this Sunday & every Sunday throughout the year, selling organic produce from local farmers, cheese & pies, Belgian waffles, ostrich burgers, German sausages, Caribbean cakes, cupcakes, breads & savouries, alongside work from some of the region's most talented artists, craftsmen, potters, sculptors, jewellers and photographers.

Whilst browsing through the Market Square why not also stroll along to the All Saints Garden Art & Craft Market which has been part of the Cambridge scene for over thirty years, providing the opportunity for artists and craftspeople to exhibit in this delightful open-air setting just opposite Trinity College on Saturdays throughout the year and some weekdays too, depending on the season and will be open this Friday the 23rd as well as Saturday 24th. This friendly market, with the motto "We Make What We Sell" provides a very special opportunity to meet the artists and makers, discuss their work, and to buy unique hand-made products direct from the maker.

Cambridge is a unique market city where stalls have been trading at the historic Market Square since the Middle Ages and it has more to offer than you might think!

This poem by Anne E U King captures the essence of what makes Cambridge Markets so special:
Market Square Poem
 Breaking dawn in Market Square
Cheery greetings in the air
Early risers sipping tea
Hoping for a spending spree

Bags to fill and coins to spend
‘Which one would you recommend?’
Seasoned vendors holding sway
Pleased that’s it’s a busy day
Spanners, tools and wooden toys
Young men, old men, women, boys
Quickened breath and darting eyes
Waiting bargains tantalise

Hot dogs draw the ling’rers in
Daylight fades and crowds grow thin
‘Pound a bunch!’ the flower man cries
Casts a glance at darkening skies

Sunset falls on Market Square
‘Coloured socks, two pounds the pair!’
Huddled groups, a dwindling throng
Final strains of busker’s song

Van doors opened, tables clear
Last few stragglers disappear
Coloured canvas turns to grey
Evening’s just a breath away

By Anne E U King

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Local Plan Consultation Extended By Two Weeks

A final consultation on plans for 22,000 new jobs and 5,000 additional new homes in South Cambridgeshire up until 2031 has been extended by two weeks.

Council bosses took the decision to extend the consultation as a background assessment included with the recently published draft Local Plan for consultation had not been updated with the latest information used to compile it.

Planning officials have confirmed that all the latest information – such as how many homes could be built on the proposed sites – was used when compiling the draft Plan, but as the data contained in one document from earlier assessments had not been updated, South Cambridgeshire District Council has taken the decision to extend the consultation so everyone has at least six weeks to view it and have their say.

Cllr Pippa Corney, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for planning policy and localism, said: “It is important to note that we have used all the latest information to compile the draft Local Plan for public consultation and therefore these updates do not have any effect on which sites are being proposed for development. However, we want to make sure everyone has easy access to the latest information in the assessments used to compile the Plan and that is why we have extended the consultation by an additional two weeks so the public has extra time to consider it."

The updated information will be available on the Council’s website by Monday 2 September.

The proposed new homes being consulted on are in addition to those already committed to in South Cambridgeshire’s earlier Local Plan, mainly on the edge of Cambridge and at the new town of Northstowe.

The Plan out for consultation would see a new town built north of Waterbeach, a new village at Bourn Airfield and a major extension to Cambourne to support new jobs being created in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire.

Around 900 of the new homes needed are also planned in six of the district’s larger villages which have the best services and public transport links. These will also help make sure the Council has a flexible plan for the future as larger new towns and villages take more time to deliver.

During two earlier phases of the public consultation over 30,000 comments were made.

In this final stage anyone responding to the consultation will be given the choice of saying whether they support or object to the draft Plan in a format set by government. This will make sure views can be passed on to an independent inspector who will consider whether the plan needs to be changed before it is finalised.

All views will be considered at a meeting of all councillors next spring to review comments before the plan is submitted to government for independent examination.

The extended consultation will close at 5pm on Monday 14 October – a two-week extension to the original date. To have your say please visit www.scambs.gov.uk/localplan or you can attend one of the remaining public exhibitions in September.

Further information and a simplified response form are also being included in South Cambridgeshire District Council’s residents’ magazine which is delivered to all homes in the district. Deliveries begin this Friday.

Anyone who has already commented during this consultation will be contacted to be given the option to update their views. Anyone who responded to previous consultations is also being contacted to inform them of the extension.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Weekend Working To Improve Northampton Street In Cambridge

Contractors will be working round the clock over a single weekend to carry out vital improvements to a Cambridge city centre road.

Northampton Street will be closed to all vehicles from 7.00 pm on Friday, August 30, until 6.00 am on Monday, September 2, to allow the work to be carried out with the shortest possible disruption to traffic. If work finishes earlier the road will be re-opened before the original deadline.

The road will be completely resurfaced and any necessary highway repairs carried out between the junctions with Madingley Road and Castle Street. Drain covers and other ironwork in the road will also be replaced or repaired as necessary.

During the project, which is expected to cost around £100,000. A local signed diversion will be in operation and access to properties and businesses will be maintained at all times.

Survey Shows Bikeability Trained Children Cycle More

Results from a scheme to train children on cycling safely in the county shows that it is successfully encouraging more children to travel by bike.

Bikeability is a national project to provide cycle training for school children aged 9 to 11. Cambridgeshire County Council currently delivers the scheme through Outspoken Cycle Training, who ran Bikeability for over 3000 children in over 100 primary schools in Cambridgeshire last year.

A recent survey of four schools participating in the Bikeability scheme showed that children with training cycled more than the control group who did not take part:
  • 26.9 per cent more children cycled on the road
  • 12.6 per cent more children cycled to school
  • 12.9 per cent more felt confident on the road
  • 10.1 per cent more children cycled at least once a week
  • 11.2 per cent more cycle with their family
Importantly for pedestrians, 26.5 per cent fewer children with training cycled on pavements.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Cabinet Member for Growth and Planning said: “We’re delighted that the results of the survey show that cycle training for children is successfully encouraging them to travel by bike. Cycling is free, fun and a healthy activity – just 30 minutes of cycling a day will provide a level of fitness of the equivalent of being ten years younger. We hope that Bikeability will continue to train Cambridgeshire’s next generation of cyclists”.

Paul Robison, Director of the Bikeability Support Team said “Most children want to ride their bikes but often their parents are understandably reluctant to let them, even though they know that cycling is good for health. Bikeability is designed to give children the skills and confidence to ride well and to give their parents reassurance.”

Cambridgeshire County Council pioneered on-road practical cycle training for 10/11 year olds, during the late 1970s, which eventually became the benchmark for all such schemes.

In July 2012, Cambridgeshire County Council awarded Outspoken with a £460,000 contract to deliver cycle training across the county, after successfully receiving funding from the Department for Transport.

More information about cycling in Cambridgeshire, including cycle maps and events can be found on the Cambridgeshire County Council website: www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/cycling

Young People Staying On In Learning Bucks Trend

Young people across the country receiving their GCSE results this week will for the first time be required to continue in some sort of learning.

In September, the national participation age will be raised to 17, meaning young people will have to continue their learning until at least the end of the next academic year.

The change does not necessarily mean students staying on in school or doing A-levels. Young people have a choice about how they continue in education or training after the age of 16.

This could be through full-time study, a combination of part-time education or training with work, or as part of the ever-expanding range of apprenticeship opportunities.

Cambridgeshire County Council wants young people to leave the education system with the skills, knowledge and qualifications to succeed. The authority’s aim is to ensure that there are enough college places, training opportunities, apprenticeships and other options available so that every young person can choose the option that’s right for them.

Cambridgeshire already bucks the national trend when it comes to young people continuing to learn. At the end of June, 93 per cent of 16-year-olds were in learning (compared to a national average of 91.7 per cent), and only 4.5 per cent were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) - compared to 5.9 per cent nationally.

The majority of young people collecting GCSE results this week will already know what they plan to do in September, but if any don’t have a course, or an apprenticeship or a training placement lined up it’s not too late.

Schools and the County Council can help find the right people to talk things through with. Advice is also available for unexpected GCSE results. As well as their school, young people can contact Council centres in Wisbech, Huntingdon, St Neots, Ely, March and Cambridge for advice:

Cambridge: 01223 728500
Ely: 01353 616990
Huntingdon: 01480 376800
St Neots: 01480 376298
Wisbech: 01945 585128

Businesses and employers in Cambridgeshire also need to know about the raising of the participation age and how it affects them. There are excellent opportunities for employers to be supported to develop their young employees to reach their potential but equally it is important that businesses recognise the national requirement that all young people under the age of 18 who are employed are receiving appropriate training and education alongside their work experience.

Information for employers is available at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/business/employing-young-people.

Cllr David Harty, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Learning said: “Supporting further learning beyond age 16 is a key priority for the County Council. We want 16-year-olds to have choices about their further learning. If we can establish a good range of options including apprenticeships, A-levels, traineeships, NVQs, and opportunities which combine work with learning then young people will be able to choose the option that is right for them.

“We’re doing well in Cambridgeshire - the number of young people participating is on the up and the number not in employment, education or training (NEET) is going down. This is thanks to the collective effort of schools and post-16 education centres, businesses and a host of other partners as well as County Council services. I want to pay particular thanks to our locality teams who work really hard to support young people to find places in learning and support those with additional barriers to achievement.

“Schools and post-16 providers have come together as 14-19 Area Partnerships to prepare for the raising of the participation age alongside the local authority. These partnerships have achieved better information sharing, have established new learning routes, have provided high quality advice and guidance and have made excellent links with businesses and employers all contributing to the positive picture in Cambridgeshire. However we do know there is more to do as we plan ahead. Next priorities include continuing to review our current Post-16 transport policy to ensure this supports our young people and providing more opportunities for young people who may need extra help such as care leavers, young mothers, young offenders or those from deprived backgrounds.”

Survey Shows Bikeability Trained Children Cycle More

Results from a scheme to train children on cycling safely in the county shows that it is successfully encouraging more children to travel by bike.

Bikeability is a national project to provide cycle training for school children aged 9 to 11. Cambridgeshire County Council currently delivers the scheme through Outspoken Cycle Training, who ran Bikeability for over 3000 children in over 100 primary schools in Cambridgeshire last year.

A recent survey of four schools participating in the Bikeability scheme showed that children with training cycled more than the control group who did not take part:
  • 26.9 per cent more children cycled on the road
  • 12.6 per cent more children cycled to school
  • 12.9 per cent more felt confident on the road
  • 10.1 per cent more children cycled at least once a week
  • 11.2 per cent more cycle with their family
Importantly for pedestrians, 26.5 per cent fewer children with training cycled on pavements.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Cabinet Member for Growth and Planning said: “We’re delighted that the results of the survey show that cycle training for children is successfully encouraging them to travel by bike. Cycling is free, fun and a healthy activity – just 30 minutes of cycling a day will provide a level of fitness of the equivalent of being ten years younger. We hope that Bikeability will continue to train Cambridgeshire’s next generation of cyclists”.

Paul Robison, Director of the Bikeability Support Team said “Most children want to ride their bikes but often their parents are understandably reluctant to let them, even though they know that cycling is good for health. Bikeability is designed to give children the skills and confidence to ride well and to give their parents reassurance.”

Cambridgeshire County Council pioneered on-road practical cycle training for 10/11 year olds, during the late 1970s, which eventually became the benchmark for all such schemes.

In July 2012, Cambridgeshire County Council awarded Outspoken with a £460,000 contract to deliver cycle training across the county, after successfully receiving funding from the Department for Transport.

More information about cycling in Cambridgeshire, including cycle maps and events can be found on the Cambridgeshire County Council website:www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/cycling

Young People Staying On In Learning Bucks Trend

Young people across the country receiving their GCSE results this week will for the first time be required to continue in some sort of learning.

In September, the national participation age will be raised to 17, meaning young people will have to continue their learning until at least the end of the next academic year.

The change does not necessarily mean students staying on in school or doing A-levels. Young people have a choice about how they continue in education or training after the age of 16.

This could be through full-time study, a combination of part-time education or training with work, or as part of the ever-expanding range of apprenticeship opportunities.

Cambridgeshire County Council wants young people to leave the education system with the skills, knowledge and qualifications to succeed. The authority’s aim is to ensure that there are enough college places, training opportunities, apprenticeships and other options available so that every young person can choose the option that’s right for them.

Cambridgeshire already bucks the national trend when it comes to young people continuing to learn. At the end of June, 93 per cent of 16-year-olds were in learning (compared to a national average of 91.7 per cent), and only 4.5 per cent were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) - compared to 5.9 per cent nationally.

The majority of young people collecting GCSE results this week will already know what they plan to do in September, but if any don’t have a course, or an apprenticeship or a training placement lined up it’s not too late.

Schools and the County Council can help find the right people to talk things through with. Advice is also available for unexpected GCSE results. As well as their school, young people can contact Council centres in Wisbech, Huntingdon, St Neots, Ely, March and Cambridge for advice:

Cambridge: 01223 728500
Ely: 01353 616990
Huntingdon: 01480 376800
St Neots: 01480 376298
Wisbech: 01945 585128

Businesses and employers in Cambridgeshire also need to know about the raising of the participation age and how it affects them. There are excellent opportunities for employers to be supported to develop their young employees to reach their potential but equally it is important that businesses recognise the national requirement that all young people under the age of 18 who are employed are receiving appropriate training and education alongside their work experience.

Information for employers is available at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/business/employing-young-people.

Cllr David Harty, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Learning said: “Supporting further learning beyond age 16 is a key priority for the County Council. We want 16-year-olds to have choices about their further learning. If we can establish a good range of options including apprenticeships, A-levels, traineeships, NVQs, and opportunities which combine work with learning then young people will be able to choose the option that is right for them.

“We’re doing well in Cambridgeshire - the number of young people participating is on the up and the number not in employment, education or training (NEET) is going down. This is thanks to the collective effort of schools and post-16 education centres, businesses and a host of other partners as well as County Council services. I want to pay particular thanks to our locality teams who work really hard to support young people to find places in learning and support those with additional barriers to achievement.

“Schools and post-16 providers have come together as 14-19 Area Partnerships to prepare for the raising of the participation age alongside the local authority. These partnerships have achieved better information sharing, have established new learning routes, have provided high quality advice and guidance and have made excellent links with businesses and employers all contributing to the positive picture in Cambridgeshire. However we do know there is more to do as we plan ahead. Next priorities include continuing to review our current Post-16 transport policy to ensure this supports our young people and providing more opportunities for young people who may need extra help such as care leavers, young mothers, young offenders or those from deprived backgrounds.”

What Have The Liberal Democrats Achieved In Government?


Sunday, 18 August 2013

Caldecote And Bourn Villages Sold Out By Council For Sake Of Expediency by Cllr Tumi Hawkins


Bourne Airfield Development - Proposed Boundary
On a number of occasions at planning committee meetings, I have told the South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) administration that Caldecote residents felt “dumped on” by the decisions of the council. Little did I know that it was going to get worse … This time, its not just a dumping on, but a betrayal, a sell out, a sacrifice!

In a previous article, I wrote that on 14 May 2013, SCDC announced that it had decided to build three new settlements to meet its projected housing need up to the year 2031. It chose Waterbeach, Bourn Airfield and West Cambourne. This was a bombshell to say the least, particularly as councillors had discussed the option at previous member workshops and clearly indicated they did not like the idea of building on the airfield and did not want to build on Bourn Airfield.

Comments from previous public consultations also indicated that the Bourn Airfield Development was not wanted. I’ve also written about that in a previous article in which I pointed out that the airfield choice flew in the face of local opposition.

So the question that has consistently been asked since then is “why chose Bourn Airfield”? Events have been unfolding which is bringing to light the reasons why.

Stop Bourn Airfield Development campaign

Local residents from Bourn and Caldecote have come together to formally oppose and campaign against the proposed Bourn Airfield Development under the banner of StopBAD. Led by Des O’Brien, a resident of Bourn, the campaign team has achieved a lot in a short space of time.

At the SCDC full council meeting on 25 July 2013, Des presented the 306 signature petition that he had started barely 2 weeks earlier. It shows the strength of feeling against Bourn Airfield Development that so many signatures were collected in that short a space of time. The councillors then debated the petition, which focussed on the soundness of the process that led to the decision to select Bourn Airfield for development. The petitioners maintain that the process was not sound, though unsurprisingly, the Planning Policy and Localism Portfolio Holder stated she was confident that the process was sound and that the Inspectors will find it so.

Since then, the campaign team and volunteers have been working behind the scenes and uncovering documents that show what some describe as a trail of betrayal. The latest of those documents is the Vision Document submitted by Andrew Martin planning consultants on behalf of the sponsors of Bourn Airfield Development. It makes for sober reading and proves the point that Des made in his petition speech – the council did not take a proactive strategic view and the plan has been developer/landowner led.

Why was Bourn Airfield Development chosen?

There is a short answer to that and it is this, to enable the council meet a government imposed target of having a 5-year housing land supply. SCDC does not currently meet that target, apparently because the Marshall Airport site which it had hoped would come on stream, was ruled out when the Airport owners decided not to move from the Cambridge east site.

This is the tail that is wagging the dog. It was also very convenient for SCDC that the owners of Bourn Airfield came up with this revised proposal in October 2012.

In 2007, the council successfully fought off countrywide developers from Bourn Airfield arguing in the High Court battle that the site was not sustainable. The Planning inspector agreed with SCDC’s evidence that there are more sustainable locations for development than Bourn Airfield. So what has changed in that time? Nothing at all – except this need for a 5-year land supply.

The Bourn Airfield Development masterplan

Bourne Airfield - Illustrative Masterplan
The vision document states that “the redevelopment of the brownfield land will create a complete, self-sustaining settlement that offers a range of accommodation, community facilities, shops and employment to maintain a diverse community at different stages of life.”

It also states that “The land at Bourn Airfield is well connected by public transport, walkable, efficient with land, connected to nature and offers high performance buildings and infrastructure.”

The promoters say the plan meets SCDC’s twelve sustainable development core planning principles, local needs, and that the Bourn Airfield Development will provide a good housing mix at an average density of 38 dwellings per hectare. Are we really expected to believe that?

The Betrayal

In the document, we read that on 4th September 2012 a letter was sent from Andrew Martin – Planning to planning officers – David Roberts and Keith Miles – at South Cambridgeshire District Council, setting out how the promoters of Bourn Airfield intended to take forward their advocacy of the site, in the context of the Local Plan – Issues and Options.

A reply dated 7th September 2012, outlined a specific request for the representations to address, amongst other things, issues of viability and delivery. Officers requested the following:

Viability – to demonstrate that development of the site will be viable and so deliverable in terms of the necessary infrastructure investment that will be required.

Delivery – to demonstrate when the airfield could realistically start to make a contribution to the five year housing land supply if it were to be allocated.

The response from the promoters seem to have satisfied those conditions. The following statement by the promoters is worrying but seems to be the underpinning of the decision.

“This site can make a meaningful contribution towards the Council’s 5-year housing supply. Unlike Northstowe or Waterbeach Barracks, the site does not require major infrastructure to be delivered before the houses can be built, and the land is in single family ownership with owners committed to the new development. Both of these factors, as well as the strong local housing market that exists in Cambridgeshire, means this development is much more financially viable than other typical schemes of this size” 
“In recognition of the likely lead-in times for developments of this scale, it is anticipated that an outline planning application would be prepared in parallel with the local plan process. The submission of an outline planning application for the site is envisaged by the end of 2013. It is assumed that consent will be secured by the summer of 2014“. 
“Current expectations are for the first houses to be delivered by the summer of 2016 with approximately 350 houses delivered by the end of 2017. The site therefore represents a realistic prospect of being delivered early in the plan period and contributing to the five year housing land supply and crucially helping to ensure the viability of the local plan“.
So, is this the deal that has been done on the Bourn Airfield Development?

The public consultation document states that nothing is expected to be built on this side until the latter part of the plan period, and that only 1500 are expected to be built by 2031 which is the end of the plan period. But that all seems to be nonsense, in the light of the vision of the developers. We all know what happens when it comes to negotiating these things … the developers get pretty much what they want!

Now that the residents of Bourn and Caldecote know exactly what the developers want, I have no doubt it will fuel their fight against the Bourn Airfield Development even more. The two wards are not fighting these for the sake of Nimby-ism, they feel that having taken 37% of all housing development in the district in the period of 2002 to 2012, it is about time that other parts of the district shared the burden.

Do you agree with that view? If so, please share this article with your wider community.

Friday, 16 August 2013

New Chapter For Library As Community Room Welcomed

A Cambridge library, which narrowly escaped closure after being on the Tories’ hit list, is to get a new community room.

The community room will be created at the Rock Road library thanks to a £20,000 investment from the Lib Dem-led city council.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Amanda Taylor who represents Queen Edith’s ward and who is involved in the Friends of Rock Road Library, got the city and county councils talking to each other.

She welcomed the news saying she was delighted that the city council is to spend money on the library which is so well used by all ages.

 “This is very good news,” she said. “The new community room will be available to hire by local groups and residents for meetings and community activities. And the money will also pay for a new doorway to the library garden making it much easier to use.”

“This is very good news,” she said. “The new community room will be available to hire by local groups and residents for meetings and community activities. And the money will also pay for a new doorway to the library garden making it much easier to use.”

The community room will be managed by the Friends of Rock Road Library.

Two years ago Rock Road Library was on the then Tory-run Cambridgeshire County Council’s hit list of libraries which could be either closed or run on a volunteer basis.

Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats supported the public campaign against the proposals and the library was saved.

Cambridge City Councillor, Jean Swanson added: “I am glad we have been able to provide funding for this project which will help the library to provide better community facilities. Easy access to the community garden will encourage its use for a wider range of activities.”

Stand Behind The Crash Barrier - Warning To Motorists

Motorists are being warned to keep themselves safe on the road if their car breaks down.

Firefighters are asking motorists to ensure they get to a place of safety and stand behind crash barriers should they need to leave their vehicle on a carriageway.

The call comes following an incident attended by Huntingdon crews this afternoon (August 16) on the westbound A14 between Brampton Racecourse and Brampton.

A car had broken down and while someone was investigating the problem under the bonnet, a collision took place. Two people have been taken to hospital by ambulance.

Eddie Theaker, Watch Commander at Huntingdon, said: "We would urge drivers and passengers to leave their vehicles and find a suitable place of safety as quick as possible should they find themselves out of their vehicle on a carriageway.

"Incidents like these do happen and it is imperative people put their own safety first and wait until suitable measures are in place to attend to their vehicle."

The fire service was called at 2.25pm to the incident and crews assisted the ambulance service with casualty care. No extrication work was needed and crews returned to their stations by 3.35pm.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Volunteers Needed To Make Park Life Go With A Swing

Community volunteers are being called on to help an annual family fun day go with a swing on Sunday 4 August at Milton Country Park.

A great free family day out, the ever-popular Park Life is organised by South Cambridgeshire District Council in partnership with Cambridge Sports Lake Trust. Last year’s event attracted over 4,000 residents, with volunteers helping the event run smoothly.

Two shifts will run on Sunday 4 August from 9.30am to 1.30pm and 1pm to 4pm. Volunteers will act as stewards, pointing people to different activities, gathering feedback and booking people onto water sport sessions. Full briefings will be given together with a t-shirt and lunch.

Local businesses are also being encouraged to take a stall in the craft and produce marquee, which will showcase the best of local food, drink and craftsmanship. Jewellery, millinery and card stalls are already confirmed. Stalls cost from £20 to £45.

Cllr Pippa Corney, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for sport, said: “Park Life is a great free family day out, with sport and entertainment on offer for all ages. Our volunteers have done a great job in previous years to help the event run smoothly and we hope that people will come forward again to join in the fun and help us to make this year’s Park Life the best yet.”

Park Life will run from 10am to 4pm. Free sporting activities will include golf, fishing, canoeing, paddleboarding, trampolining, archery and much more. Live music and entertainment will also be on offer, while media partner Heart Radio’s Angels will be at the event with a range of games and activities for all ages to enjoy.

To volunteer to help at Park Life, contact Helen Stepney on 03450 450 500 or helen.stepney@scambs.gov.uk To book a stall in the craft marquee, contact Joseph Minutolo on 03450 450 500 or joseph.minutolo@scambs.gov.uk

Firefighters Cook Up Kitchen Safety Advice For New Mums

New mothers have received kitchen fire safety advice from firefighters as part of a drive to make people's kitchens safer in the city.

Firefighters from Cambridge's White Watch have been cooking up 10 tips for a safer kitchen and delivering them to residents in and around Cambridge as part of a month-long safety campaign.
On Wednesday (August 14) the crew visited a group of new mums at Chesterton Children's Centre to promote the fire safety messages.

Jo Shippey, firefighter at Cambridge White Watch, said: "More than half of all accidental fires in Cambridgeshire start in the kitchen, so it is important residents take steps to keep their cooking space as safe as possible.

"Having a new baby or children in the house can sometimes mean the kitchen is a hectic place - especially during the summer holidays. So we've visited groups like the one in Chesterton to remind parents about fire safety in their kitchens and encourage them to teach their children how to stay safe as well."

To stay safe in your kitchen, why not follow these top 10 tips:

  1. Keep electrical leads, tea towels, cloths, loose clothing and anything else that may catch fire away from the oven and hob.
  2. Keep the oven, hob, grill and toaster clean. A build-up of fat, grease and crumbs can easily catch fire. Always position toasters away from flammable materials.
  3. Never put anything metallic inside your microwave.
  4. Turn off electrical appliances when not in use and have them serviced regularly.
  5. Keep electrical leads and appliances away from water.
  6. Use a spark device to light gas cookers rather than matches or lighters.
  7. Book a Gas Safe registered engineer to check cookers and gas appliances yearly.
  8. Never leave children alone in the kitchen and keep matches, lighters and pan handles where children cannot reach them.
  9. Take pans off the heat and turn off the hob and/or grill if you have to leave the kitchen while cooking. Make sure the oven, hob and grill are turned off when you have finished cooking.
  10. Avoid cooking if you are tired, have been drinking alcohol or are taking medication that can make you drowsy.

Last Chance For Employers To Apply For Travel Grant

There is still grant funding to help employers within Cambridge and the A10 and A14 corridors to provide workplace sustainable travel initiatives

Last year The Travel for Work Partnership received funding from the Government's 'Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF)'. Part of this is being used to fund the Workplace Sustainable Travel Grant scheme.

Employers based within the LSTF areas (Cambridge – Huntingdon and Cambridge to Ely corridors) can all apply for up to £6,000 of match funding for facilities to help staff commute sustainably. To find out more contact TfW on 01223 715550 or email: info@tfw.org.uk.

The last chance to apply for this funding and help is September 2013, so now is the time for employers to start thinking about schemes that would help make employer Workplace Travel Plans more effective and improve travel choice for staff travelling to and for work.

Last year twelve employer members of the Travel for Work Partnership (TfW) across Cambridgeshire received a share of over £24,000 from TfW’s Workplace Travel Grant scheme in 2012/13. These employers have contributed a further £30,000 to complete the new schemes worth £54,000, to make the daily commute more sustainable.

One of these successful applicants was Hinchingbrooke Hospital, which received help towards providing and improving travel facilities for their staff. In March this year there was a special unveiling ceremony of the brand new staff cycle shelter for 24 cycles at Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust

Mark Webb, Business Manager at TfW said: “Travel for Work is delighted to help employers in this way. We are here to support local employers who encourage staff to commute sustainably, whether by public transport, car sharing, cycling and of course walking. The Workplace Travel Grant is just one of the practical things we can do to help.”

TfW’s Workplace Travel Grant Scheme is supported by Cambridgeshire County Council’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) programme, which is funded by Central Government and includes a range of measures aimed at ‘Getting Cambridgeshire to work’.  This will help to maximise the county’s potential for growing and attracting business, and ensuring that Cambridgeshire continues to make a significant contribution to UK PLC.

The type of initiatives that would be considered are those that enable employees to walk, cycle, car share, use public transport and/or to undertake trips using several modes of transport.

Other projects funded by the scheme last years included Addenbrooke’s electric pool bikes and lockers, Cambridge Housing Society’s cycle stands, Eversheds’ revamped showers, Cambustion’s cycle stand shelter and the Royal Society of Chemistry’s new changing rooms.

Andy Murray's Mum Helps Young People Get Sporty

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray’s games with his mother Judy 20 years ago have formed the basis of family fun sports sessions in Cambridge next month.

The special sessions, for children aged 3 to 8, will take place at East Barnwell Community Centre on Saturday 7 September and illustrate how parents can use simple household objects to create fun games that help their children improve co-ordination, balance and agility, without the need for expensive kit or apparatus.

Mrs Murray, who launched Set4Sport two years ago, said: “I played games with sons Jamie and Andy almost as soon as they could walk. We didn’t know it then, but we were all taking part in the most basic of coaching sessions. Not only was it great fun, but it also helped them develop the co-ordination skills that would allow them to play any sport competently later in life.”

There are spaces for 48 children on the sessions, and 20 so far have been registered. Advance registration is required and anyone interested should contact Helen Hollebon on 07795 300785 or by email at Helen.Hollebon@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Mrs Hollebon said: “These sessions will fulfil a need inspired by events we have held in Abbey for more family fitness and sport. These activities being showcased can take place anywhere and will help children develop skills required for playing sport later in life.”

Set4Sport, now touring Britain, is supported by RBS bank.  Bruce Cook, Head of Group Sponsorship, said: “Primarily, this is about kids having fun in their family environment, but doing so in a way that develops core skills at the same time. The beauty of it is that any equipment needed for these games and exercises will almost certainly already be in your home.”

Set4Sport Co-ordinator Paul Regan said the tour supplied coaches to inspire as well as all the materials and equipment to play the games and parents would each get a copy of the book to encourage future sports play.

Mrs Hollebon, Cambridgeshire County Council’s project manager for East Barnwell’s community hub project added: “We are continuing to provide sports facilities for the area and are looking at ways of enhancing these through our plans to redevelop the centre as a hub.”

Newsletter - Cambridge Carbon Footprint (August 2013)


Although August is quiet event-wise we’ve been busy hatching plans for events for the rest of the year, and for next year too! We’ve also been developing a new way of thinking about our events and activities which we’re really excited about. We’re hoping to pull together some of our events to form ‘campaigns’. The idea is that by putting together a series of related events and workshops on a particular theme people will have the opportunity to get more engaged with a particular topic and get the information and support that they need to really make a change.

We’re also hoping that by planning our campaign theme’s ahead of time and getting the word out early that we can get more ideas from you about the sorts of activities and events you’d like to see, and give maybe even give you the opportunity to run an event or a workshop yourself!

For our first foray into this new field, we’ll begin with a Sustainable Food Campaign starting November this year! We’re still working out all the details, but expect sustainable feasts, foodie films, cooking workshops and a sustainable food conference. If you have any ideas for sustainable food events you’d like to see, or sustainable food related skills (cooking, growing, preserving) you’d like to share please let us know! Phone us on 01223 301842 or email jocelyn@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org.

1. Carbon Conversations in October!

We have two new Carbon Conversations groups starting in October 2013:

North Cambridge
7.30pm October 9th & 23rd, November 6th & 20th Nov and December 4th, with the 6th meeting arranged amongst the group.

South Cambridge
Dates coming soon!

We aim to run Carbon Conversations 3 times over the year – in the New Year, Spring and in Autumn.

To learn more about Carbon Conversations, or to join one of our upcoming groups please email alana@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org or phone 01223 301842.

2. More guinea pigs needed for eco-coaching materials!

Many thanks for the people who sent us examples of how they reduce food waste - these will be very useful in the creation of the food waste module for our Eco-coaching project. We are also working on a consumption module (about all the non-food stuff we buy, such as clothes and gadgets) and would love to have a few people who are willing to be guinea pigs. We need people who are willing to try one of the following:
sit down and work out their non-food expenditure by looking at their bank and credit card statements over the last six months (see below for the kind of items we mean)
keep a record of all non-food expenditure (including cash) in a notebook for two months

The reason for doing this is that some people have told us that these methods help them to keep track of their purchases and thus reduce them. We want to know which method is easiest and whether people are likely to stick to it.

If you are willing to try one (or even both!) of these methods of logging expenditure for a couple of months, please contact bev@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org

Thanks!

3. Admin Volunteer Vacancy

Are you looking for office experience? Do you have a keen interest in environmental issues? Could you volunteer your time 3 mornings a week for 3 to 6 months? We’re looking for an admin volunteer to help out us out in the CCF office. All necessary training provided! Click here for more information and to find out how to apply.

4. Climate Friendly Homes Surveys

Keen to find out more about what you can do to create a cosier and lower carbon home? Climate Friendly Homes is a free service to help you make practical plans to reduce your carbon emissions.
The project offers:
An individualised report offering suggestions and advice about what can be done to cut the carbon footprint of your home, and save on bills
Information tailored to your circumstances on grants, suppliers and discounts
Advice and support from a friendly, trained volunteer

Click here for more information on Climate Friendly Homes, or to book your survey email cfh@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org.

5. Join our CCF book group!

There are a couple of spaces in our enjoyable and informative CCF book group. Our next meeting will be at 7pm on Monday evening 7th October, so you will have plenty of time to read the chosen book by then if you decide to join now! We will be discussing Michael Sandel's What money can't buy: the moral limit of markets, which I personally found absolutely fascinating. Last time we read Flight behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver, a novel about climate change, family relationships, poverty and many other things - highly recommended. On the whole we read non-fiction books connected with climate change.

Another (delightful) feature of our group is that we all bring food to share - see here for a photo of last time's delicious array of dishes.

If you are interested in joining us or simply want to find out more about the book group, email info@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org

Bev

6. Gadgets to Go 20 September

20 September, 7.30 - 9.30pm, St Andrews Hall, Chesterton

A Film, Talk and Swap night…

A short film: The Story of Electronics… then…

A talk by Tom Bragg about electronics and sustainability, practical tips for reducing your carbon footprint – from purchasing to recycling at the end of their days… then…

A Gadget Swap! So bring along the gadgets you don’t use any more, perhaps they were gifts which weren’t quite right, or a charger which you thought would fit. Then swap them with other people’s gadgets.

Bookings are essential: call 01223 301842 or email us on info@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org

7. Eco-homes: personal stories 24 September

24 September, 7.30 - 9.30pm

Interested in eco-renovation or building a new eco-home? Not sure where to start?

Whether you are an expert or simply curious, come to this event where three homeowners be sharing their stories of how and why they came to live the way they do now, what the process was like, and whether there is anything they would do differently. Come along and experience some of the different journeys that people are taking to create greener homes.
Judith Green - Judith renovated her 1912 terraced house in Ross Street using reclaimed materials to reduce the carbon footprint
Kate Hawksworth – Kate’s house is custom built with a wide range of eco-friendly features from a grass roof to triple glazing.
Katherine Smith – Katherine recently bought an eco-house and is also involved in sustainability in a Suffolk local authority.

There will be plenty of opportunity for questions and discussion about these unique projects. We hope to see you there! For more information and to book a place send an email toinfo@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org or call us on 01223 851616.

8. DIY Lotions and Potions Workshop 8 October

8 October, 7 - 8.30pm, venue tbc

Bottles and jars and tubes, Oh My!

We’ll be hosting an experiemental and very fun workshop on how to make your own lotions and ‘potions’. Commercially made lotions, creams and balms are often made of a list of chemicals which are harmful to the earth, made in all sorts of energy intensive ways, shipped a long way, and bottled in single-use containers… We can do better! (And we’ll smell nice while doing it!)

Please bring two small, very clean jars to take your fresh goodies home with you. Bookings essential: info@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org or phone 01223 301842

9. Gardening in August: Summer wanes as autumn fruits appear

The schools are out for summer and the holidays are in full flow but, with some regret, every year there are some subtle changes in the natural world in early/mid August that signal the summer is on the wane! The start of the football season is another reminder! Campers also find that clear nights and heavy dews can be a feature of mid August. My garden thermometer dropped to 6 deg C the other night here and it went down to about 4 C in Thetford.

Read Keith Jordan's full article on our website . 

10. Economic recovery, carbon emissions and the obsessional defence

It’s a commonplace in economics that growth in GDP is a good thing. And it’s a commonplace in psychology that awkward topics of conversation will be avoided. If something upsets the status quo – expect a defence.

There are few topics as awkward as the relationship between economic growth and climate change. As economies grow, they use more energy. And sadly, neither improvements in efficiency, techno-wizardry, or a move towards renewables is likely to solve the problem. Carbon savings made in one place free up resources to be used elsewhere. This year’s efficiency improvement is swallowed up in next year’s growth. This is what is known as the rebound effect.

Read Ro Randall's full article here.

11. Ring of Green – trees exhibition

In addition to a source of renewable wood products, trees are great absorbers of natural and man-made carbon dioxide, playing an important part in our climate. Acting as natural solar panels, the leaves absorb photons of light and, through a complex biochemical process, they absorb atmospheric CO2 and convert the harvested energy and carbon to sugars and starch that we all depend on. Oxygen production is another useful by product!

We have many fine species growing around our neighbourhoods and some smaller examples have just sprouted in the windows of Books for Amnesty and RSCPA bookshop displays along Mill Road Cambridge! As part of the Romsey Art Festival (3rd-17th Aug. ) they represent some of interesting and useful trees growing around our neighbourhoods. Take a look and while you are there look for some secondhand books on trees, gardening, ecology, etc. Set up by Keith Jordan on behalf of Romsey Garden Club.