by Hazel Smith on 11 April, 2018
Not many meetings have happened at SCDC this month: everyone is hunkering down into election mode.
Waterbeach Community Forum had its first meeting on 14th, taking over from the Joint Parishes Meeting that Anna had started. This was quite a useful information-sharing event: there was no stunning news on the A10 study, just confirmation that the route will be chosen by the end of next year. The Cambridge Sport Lakes Trust were there showing their plans but didn’t speak. On the platform we heard about the new town and moving the station, and they took questions from the floor.
The following week was Amey’s attempt to woo local people over to the idea of an incinerator, with displays at Landbeach, Cottenham and Waterbeach. They have so far studiously ignored Milton. They had a large number of specialist consultants available to answer questions, so it was disappointing that the turn-out from the public was rather low. Maybe people are not too bothered by the incinerator. We attended the meeting on the same day in Waterbeach organised by CBWIN (Cambridge without Incineration). I was upset that they seemed unable to give equal time to the “case for” and the “case against” the incinerator, and the chairman in introducing himsef as impartial then stated that local elected politicians were in favour of it, which was news to us! I think he was trying to make the point that people need to make their voice heard if they feel strongly about it, and the people at that meeting did do that. However in our canvassing round the villages we haven’t found that strength of feeling about it elsewhere. My own opinion is that this is a very complicated issue with local implications whether or not the incinerator is built. The overarching government policy on incineration of plastic seems to be changing towards favouring landfill. So I am studying the information and still asking questions. What is the composition of what would be burnt? I’m certainly in favour of incinerating dirty nappies etc, though personally I used cloth nappies for my own babies and reducing waste has to be central to the overall strategy.
Later in the week I met Lucy Fraser our MP at Emmaus; it was a bit of a flying visit but she agreed to press the case for regarding Emmaus communities (and their way of helping formerly homeless people through voluntary work in the Emmaus social enterprise) as a special case when introducing Universal Credit. The general model of Universal Credit if applied rigorously would wipe out all Emmaus communities, because in order to get housing benefit the companions would have to be available for paid work 37 hours a week. There needs to be recognition that not everyone is able to hold down a full-time paid job, and that these people need a lot of support with accommodation, life skills, budgeting and getting their addictions under control. She has promised to try to help.
We have been looking into Drainage issues following on from extensive flooding of paddocks at the College of West Anglia last week. We called out South Cambs drainage engineers to clear a tree out of the Award Drain near the Milton allotments. The flow into this drain seems to be faster since the Park and Ride site was built further back up the drain: once its attenuation pond is full a lot of rainwater will flow straight into the drain and it can’t cope.
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