Friday, 26 April 2013

Cambridge Cycling Campaign Questionnaire

When you stand of election you get sent all manor of things in the post. If you stand for election in and around Cambridge one of those things will be a questionnaire from the Cambridge Cycling Campaign that is attempting to elicit the candidates views on cycling.

Those candidates that complete the questionnaire get an immediate audience of members of the Cycling Campaign who, all other things being equal, will vote based on the candidates responses.

The full questionnaire is available here;


You can switch to see other divisions should you choose to do so.

Looking specifically at Bar Hill the candidates are;
  • Lord Ian BROUGHALL  (The Official Monster Raving Loony Party)
  • Norman Alexander CROWTHER  (Labour Party)
  • Helene Yvette DAVIES-GREEN  (UK Independence Party)
  • Andy PELLEW  (Liberal Democrat)
  • John Edward REYNOLDS  (Conservative Party)
  • Teal RILEY  (Green Party)
In Bar Hill Labour, UKIP, and Conservatives all refused to take part in the survey. I'm a little surprised Labour weren't interested (but they were running a candidate from outside the division) but clearly UKIP and the Tories took the view that they were unlikely to win any votes by completing this survey and chose not too - or maybe they just took the view that the survey didn't matter. Who knows? Frankly I spent about 10 minutes completing the survey and it's difficult to see that the other candidates were too busy to find 10 minutes to do the same!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

South Cambridgeshire Declared One Of The Most Peaceful Areas In Britain

South Cambridgeshire has been declared one of the most peaceful districts in Britain by a new UK Peace Index.

The research comes from the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) which shows the most and least peaceful areas in Britain. It defines peace as the absence of violence or fear of violence.

The findings, which cover the 10-year period from 2003 to 2012, show that crime is falling more rapidly in Britain than anywhere else in Western Europe.

The murder rate has halved since 2003, from 1.99 per 100,000 people to one per 100,000 with the violent crime rate falling from 1,255 to 933 per 100,000 people.

Broadland, in Norfolk, was the most peaceful area at local authority level, followed by Three Rivers in Hertfordshire, South Cambridgeshire, East Dorset and Maldon in Essex.

Inner London boroughs were the least peaceful - led by Lewisham and followed by Lambeth, Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets.

The study credited the falling crime rate to changes in policing, technological advancements, an ageing population, reduced alcohol consumption and the introduction of the minimum wage. It concluded that poverty, employment, education, access to services, and inequality are closely related to peace.

The Council’s deputy leader, Cllr Simon Edwards, said: “We are very proud that the district is consistently recognised as one of the best places to live and work in national polls as this is a positive indication that the work we are carrying out is continuing to improve life for our residents. The survey results are no surprise at all as we are very fortunate to have high employment rates and excellent education twinned with very low crime.”

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Bar Hill Parish Council Meeting ** TONIGHT **

UPDATE: Apologies, was originally published early - should have only appeared on the 18th.

The agenda for tonight's Parish Council meeting is;

Open Forum
1. To receive apologies for absence and any declaration of interest
2. Approval of minutes. To approve minutes of Parish Council Meeting held on 21st March 2013
3. Matters for discussion and decisions to be made from Previous Minutes
3.1 Midas Care Ltd – Signing of lease agreement
3.2 The Farmhouse – update on new tenant and requirements
3.3 Minutes of FOOTPATH – sent prior to meeting
3.4 Village Hall – update and drainage costs
3.5 Village Green - update
3.6 Wildlife Enhancement Scheme - update
4. General Correspondence Received. Correspondence List circulated in advance to Councillors
5. Clerks Financial Report
5.1 Approval of works by the Parish Council
5.2 Earmarked projects – update from last month’s meeting
5.3 Ongoing employment of Clerk’s assistant
5.4 Holiday At Home – request for contribution (donation request form sent)
5.5 Village Hall – loan repayment
5.6 Review of utility and services costs 
5.7 Approval of accounts and payment of cheques for April
6. Chairman’s Report
7. Committee Reports
a. Planning Committee  (MP)
b. Environment Committee (BW)
8. Other Reports
a. Cambridgeshire County Council (JR)
b. South Cambridgeshire District Council (BW/RH)
c. Any other reports 
9. Items for Information

The meeting starts with an Open Forum during which any local member of the public can raise any issue they like and it will be discussed by Councillors. Unfortunately it is necessary to turn up if you want to discuss something but if you'd like me to raise something on your behalf drop me an email; andy.pellew@gmail.com.

This will be the last Parish Council meeting before the election so I'm expecting to see a lot of candidates there! (at least for the Public Forum).

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert Welcomes Fall In Unemployment Figures

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert

MP Julian Huppert has welcomed the news that unemployment in Cambridge continues to fall.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in March was 1,600 – 158 lower than the same period last year and 18 lower than in February this year.

Julian said: “It’s good news that more jobs are becoming available and people are finding work. The job market is still tough but these figures show that confidence among employers is continuing to grow and new jobs are being created.

“Clearly, it is still extremely difficult for those families surviving against a backdrop of unemployment and my concerns are with them; but hopefully these figures will bring hope and optimism for a brighter future.

“We have been fortunate in Cambridge that most of our businesses have been able to cope with this economic downturn but it has been very tough for many. However, Cambridge has the lowest unemployment of any UK city, and I hope that continues.”

Liberal Democrat Party Political Broadcast: Fairer Taxes


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Connecting Cambridgeshire - Superfast Broadband Briefing - April 2013

Working together with BT 

It may seem that things have gone a bit quiet since 8 March when we signed contract with BT for the comprehensive roll-out of better broadband across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. However a lot of work is going on to prepare for the next phase of the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme.

The Connecting Cambridgeshire team is working closely with BT to ensure the roll-out is delivered swiftly and effectively to make the best use of the public investment. We are sharing offices with the BT Openreach team at Cambridgeshire County Council’s Shire Hall, Cambridge to facilitate this.

For BT Openreach, this means drawing up schedules and carrying out surveys to re-design the core network and expand the reach of fibre broadband across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. This is a large-scale project which will involve upgrading over 100 telephone exchanges and installing many more new cabinets across the county

Alongside this, the team has started working with county and district planning and highways teams to make the process for rolling out better broadband as smooth and efficient as possible.

The roll-out

The network deployment is a significant engineering project and needs to be carefully planned. However the roll-out will start as soon as possible and is due to be completed by the end of 2015, which means we are on track to deliver what we promised and more.

We are not able to provide detailed timing and areas of roll-out at this stage, however you can be assured that over the life of the programme it will reach every community in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough that currently lacks access to broadband services. We expect to be able to tell you more in May about when we will be able to announce the first phases.

Parish annual meetings

We are aware that Parishes are holding their annual meetings and you may wish to give an update. Attached is a short article which may be useful for local newsletters and website.

Updates and FAQs

We will endeavour to keep you informed through monthly Broadband Briefs.

Regular updates, media coverage and FAQs will be posted on the Connecting Cambridgeshire website and the project team can be contacted by email at contact@connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk if you have any further queries.

Connecting Cambridgeshire update for Parishes/Community Groups

Connecting Cambridgeshire signed a milestone contract with BT in March 2013 that means businesses and communities across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will have some of the best fibre broadband coverage in the country by the end of 2015.

Overall 98% of homes and businesses across the county can expect to have access to fibre-based broadband by the end of the contract. Our targets are for more than 90% of homes and businesses to be able to get broadband speeds of 24 Mbps and higher, with a minimum of 2 Mbps to very nearly 100% of premises.

Connecting Cambridgeshire is now working with BT Openreach on planning and surveys for the roll-out of the new broadband infrastructure, which will require a substantial re-design of the network across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

This large-scale project will involve upgrading over 100 telephone exchanges and installing many more new cabinets across the county. The roll-out has to be carefully planned in to make the best use of public money. Once BT has completed the initial design we will be able to publicise the phased roll-out, which is due to begin before the end of 2013.

Nearly 25,000 homes and businesses have supported the Connecting Cambridgeshire campaign, which is the largest of its kind in the country. Active campaigning has now closed, but you can still register your details to keep up to date with the programme or view Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk

Monday, 15 April 2013

Fire Commander Bounces Into Retirement After 30 Years

A well-respected fire commander with a wealth of experience has retired after more than 30 years at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS).

Andy Tucker, 50, "fell" into his role as a firefighter while he was looking for another job, but loved it so much that he developed a fully fledged career at the Service, following in the footsteps of his father.

Father-of-two Andy, from Hardwick, said: "I sort of fell into the service while I was looking what I called 'a proper job' as a marine cartographer (someone who maps the floor of the ocean). But I liked it so much that I stayed.

"It was an exciting job. The buzz was always going out to the incidents and dealing with the people and the fires."

After starting his career at Cambridge station in 1982, Andy served in numerous roles across the county, including positions at Cambridge, Dogsthorpe, Ely and Huntingdon, climbing the ranks from firefighter to station commander. He then moved into the Service's Prevention team working as a Risk Manager and, at some point, covered every district in Cambridgeshire.

Alongside other roles, he was a Fire Investigation officer, Hazardous Material and Environment officer, part of the regional response team for Detection, Identification and Monitoring, and was also a supervisory officer for many of the Service's on-call fire stations including Burwell, Linton, Cottenham and Ely.

Yesterday, (Sunday, April 14) he officially retired from his role as Risk Manager for Cambridge, East Cambs and South Cambs.

The most memorable incident Andy attended was a fire at Spiller's Mill, opposite Cambridge train station, in March 2010. "It was the largest fire I've ever been to. I remember driving along the road and seeing this fire in the distance and thinking 'Oh my, this is going to be an all-nighter' - and it was," he said.

"The flames were coming out of the turrets and there were embers everywhere. It resembled something like the blitz."

His father Tommy Tucker was a firefighter at Cambridge and although the two never served on the same watch, as Andy's career progressed he would often find himself as Incident Commander - putting him in charge of his father.

Andy said: "The first day I turned up at my dad's station wearing my new, crisp officer's uniform, my dad came up to me, screwed up my epaulets and gave me a friendly grasp around the face and said 'I've always wanted to do that to an officer'! I think he was proud of me."

Andy said he was thankful his wife Lesley and their two daughters Paige, 20, and Tate, 16, were deep sleepers after the many years of his pager going off in the middle of night.

Now he is retired, Andy, who is a county level trampoline judge, is hoping to become a coach for the sport. His two daughters are involved with Cambourne Comets Trampoline Club and he said he is looking forward to dedicating more time to the sport. He will also take on a non-operational role within the Service, working part time as a Health and Safety Coordinator.

Rick Hylton, Area Commander at CFRS, said: "Andy has always been willing to go the extra mile to make sure the job in hand is done properly and was always willing to challenge the organisation regarding things he felt passionate about.

"He has covered many roles in both fire prevention and protection within the organisation and has vast knowledge in specialist areas including hazardous materials.

"The Service, together with many of our partner agencies, will greatly miss Andy and his wealth of experience and would like to thank him for his years of dedication to the Cambridgeshire community."

City’s Poorest Toddlers To Benefit From Free Childcare

Cambridge’s poorest toddlers will benefit from 15 hours free childcare a week from September following a government investment of more than £3 million in the city.

MP Julian Huppert has welcomed the news which delivers on a Liberal Democrat commitment to additional early years’ education.

The funding means 1,045 children in Cambridge will each receive £2,880 worth of free childcare.

And the investment is in addition to the £100 million of capital spending on additional nursery places announced by Lib Dem Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg last year.

Julian urged parents across Cambridge to find out whether their two-year-olds could benefit.

He said: “We know that early years’ education can make a real difference to children from disadvantaged backgrounds who are at risk of falling behind their classmates in school. It gives them the best possible start in life.

“I want to make sure that no child in Cambridge misses out on this free childcare. I would urge parents of children turning two this month or later to find out whether their child is eligible.”

1. Children from families receiving one of the following meet the criteria for free childcare from September:
· Income Support
· Income-based Job Seekers' Allowance
· Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
· Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
· the Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
· If you have an annual income of less than £16,190 and get Child Tax Credit, provided you are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit.

Parents can find out if their child is eligible by contacting either their local nursery provider or their local authority. These places will initially be targeted on children from families receiving an out-of-work benefit and those who are looked after by their local authority.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Planning Application: Units 12,13,17 & 18, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ

A new planning application has been filed with South Cambridgeshire District Council to improve the roofing of a four units on the Business Park (for La Salle Investment Management).

You can view the information in detail by going to the link;

http://plan.scambs.gov.uk/swiftlg/apas/run/wchvarylogin.display

And then searching for the planning reference;

S/0500/13/FL

A direct link to the application form is available here.

The planning application covers a new roof covering and installation of horizontal and inclined fall arrest / restraint system.

Plan Overview

Friday, 12 April 2013

Unlock Democracy: Lords-A-Lobbying


Yesterday the Guardian reported that despite government assurances to reform the lobbying industry, 100 lobbyists still have parliamentary passes given to them by members of the House of Lords [1]. On top of that, members of the House of Lords remain free to work in public affairs despite the enormous potential conflicts of interest.

This is a national scandal, yet it is something that we only hear excuses about from senior politicians, never action. The House of Lords itself has always argued that it doesn’t need democratic reform to clean up its act. Let’s put that to the test; will you write to the leaders of the main parties in the House of Lords and demand they take a lead in cracking down on lobbyists within their own ranks?

http://action.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/lords-lobbying

Although we are still waiting for the government to introduce a lobbying register, the House of Commons has done quite a lot over the past two decades to clean up its act over sleaze. The House of Lords has fallen badly behind. A few years ago several peers were caught offering to help change legislation in exchange for cash [2]. Since then we’ve seen almost no action and those peers have been free to continue as both peers and lobbyists.

The fact is, access to the parliamentary facilities is of enormous value to a lobbyist. Designed to resemble a 19th century gentleman’s club, it’s the perfect place to meet politicians - ministers and backbenchers alike. Of course there are rules against voting on legislation which you have a vested interest - but there’s nothing to prevent lobbyists from working to influence a decision in which they have such an interest. And if they’re a member of the House of Lords they can even claim £300 a day tax free to do it!

This is an obviously appalling state of affairs and can’t be allowed to continue. The coalition had a plan - democratic reform - but that now lies in tatters. They have another opportunity to sort this out by regulating the lobbying industry. It’s time to put pressure on them to ensure that they do.

We’re asking people to write to the leaders of the main parties in the House of Lords to demand they take action. You can join in the campaign by clicking here:

http://action.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/lords-lobbying

Many thanks!

Peter Facey

Director, Unlock Democracy

Notes:

[1] More than 100 lobbying professionals still hold parliamentary passes (Guardian, 11 April 2013): http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/apr/10/lobbying-professionals-parliamentary-passes
[2] 2009 cash for influence scandal (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_cash_for_influence_scandal

Huppert Welcomes Funding For Primary School Sport


Primary schools across Cambridge are to receive a share of almost £160,000 from the government to boost school sports.

The news has been welcomed by the city’s MP Julian Huppert who believes the investment will help children to build confidence, understand teamwork and stay healthy.

Every state primary school in the city will receive the funding in 2013/14 and 2014/15.

Among those benefiting will be Arbury Primary School which will receive £9,620, Kings Hedges Primary School which will receive £9,495 and the Shirley Primary School which will receive £9,580.

The funding is the equivalent of around two days a week of a primary teacher’s time to provide more sport for their pupils. A typical primary school with 250 pupils will receive £9,250 a year.

Julian said: “Sport is so valuable for primary school children and brings so many benefits and I am delighted that we are able to provide this funding to allow youngsters to take part.

“There could be no greater legacy from last summer’s Olympic Games than encouraging more children to play sport and, in turn lead a healthier lifestyle.”

Funding for schools will be calculated by reference to the number of primary-aged pupils (i.e. children between the ages of 5 and 11).  All schools with 17 or more primary-aged pupils will receive a lump sum of £8,000 plus a premium of £5 per pupil.  Smaller schools will receive the sum of £500 per pupil.  This means a school with 16 eligible pupils would receive £8,000; a school with 12 such pupils would receive £6,000; and a school with five such pupils – the smallest that we know of – would receive £2,500.

The figures are provisional, based on this year’s school census, so although schools will receive approximately these amounts, the final allocations will depend on the exact number of children on the school roll next year and the year after.

Vince Cable Returns To City To Support Election Candidates


Business Secretary Vince Cable returns to Cambridge tomorrow (Saturday, April 13) to join Liberal Democrat candidates on the campaign trail.

He will be joined by the city’s MP Julian Huppert as he gives his support to candidates canvassing in the forthcoming Cambridgeshire County Council elections on May 2.

Vince, who studied at Cambridge University, has become a familiar face in the city supporting businesses and launching the recent Business Awards.

He said: "I'm very impressed by the hard work of the Lib Dems in Cambridge.

“Ian Manning and Kilian Bourke as councillors have been strong advocates of key projects such as the Chisholm Trail and the new Science park station.

“Julian Huppert has been a champion for Cambridge in Parliament - working tirelessly to support it and its values.

“Cambridge has one of the most successful local economies in the country, with the lowest unemployment of any city and a true 21st-century knowledge-based economy.

I know that Julian has been campaigning for more infrastructure investment around Cambridge which fits with what I am trying to achieve nationally.”

Julian said: “I am delighted that Vince has found time to come back to Cambridge and support our election candidates.

“Our councillors are doing an excellent job on the county council, fighting for the issues that are so important for our city and proving a forceful opposition.

“Vince Cable understands these issues and how important Cambridge is to the UK economy generally and it is good to have his support on the doorstep.”

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Bar Hill Parish Council Meeting 7pm Thursday 18th April 2013

UPDATE: Incorrect date, should be 18th.

The agenda for next Thursdays Parish Council meeting has been published;

Open Forum
1. To receive apologies for absence and any declaration of interest
2. Approval of minutes. To approve minutes of Parish Council Meeting held on 21st March 2013
3. Matters for discussion and decisions to be made from Previous Minutes
3.1 Midas Care Ltd – Signing of lease agreement
3.2 The Farmhouse – update on new tenant and requirements
3.3 Minutes of FOOTPATH – sent prior to meeting
3.4 Village Hall – update and drainage costs
3.5 Village Green - update
3.6 Wildlife Enhancement Scheme - update
4. General Correspondence Received. Correspondence List circulated in advance to Councillors
5. Clerks Financial Report
5.1 Approval of works by the Parish Council
5.2 Earmarked projects – update from last month’s meeting
5.3 Ongoing employment of Clerk’s assistant
5.4 Holiday At Home – request for contribution (donation request form sent)
5.5 Village Hall – loan repayment
5.6 Review of utility and services costs 
5.7 Approval of accounts and payment of cheques for April
6. Chairman’s Report
7. Committee Reports
a. Planning Committee  (MP)
b. Environment Committee (BW)
8. Other Reports
a. Cambridgeshire County Council (JR)
b. South Cambridgeshire District Council (BW/RH)
c. Any other reports 
9. Items for Information

The meeting starts with an Open Forum during which any local member of the public can raise any issue they like and it will be discussed by Councillors. Unfortunately it is necessary to turn up if you want to discuss something but if you'd like me to raise something on your behalf drop me an email; andy.pellew@gmail.com.

This will be the last Parish Council meeting before the election so I'm expecting to see a lot of candidates there! (at least for the Public Forum).

E-Cops - Your Regular Update

Since my last E-cops message there has been 7 crime reports suitable to be published. Please see the relevant once below.

Between 27th March, at 17:30 and 28th March, at 07:30, a theft from a vehicle took place in Appletrees, Bar Hill. Vehicle was secured and unattended, parked at location stated. Unknown offender/s have gained entry to vehicle by smashing driver's side window, and removed various tools.

Between 27 March 23:00hrs and 28 March a 07:00hrs, a theft of bicycle took place in Hollytree’s, Bar Hill. Unknown offender/s have gained entry to a property via side gate, forced padlock from garden shed to open, and taken a Raleigh ladies bike.

On 28th March, between 09:00hrs and 20:50hrs, a garage was broken into in Pheasant Rise, Bar Hill. Unknown offender/s have forced the lock from the up and over door garage, then placed a screw where the lock was. Nothing appeared to have been taken from the garage, albeit there are several expensive tools kept in the garage.

Between 2nd April, 19:00hrs and 3d April 03:00hrs, a theft from a vehicle took place in Appletrees, Bar Hill. Vehicle was secured and unattended. Unknown person/s have smashed vehicle window and taken items from within.

On 2nd April, between 21:37hrs and 22:28hrs, an arson incident took place in an Industrial Unit 4, Scotland Road, Dry Drayton. Front wooden door to the unit was forced open by unknown persons. Whilst persons were inside the building, a fire was started; a witness has seen two males run from the location. Fire Brigade took fire under control and state that it was a deliberate ignition.

Two arrests have been made in connection with theft from Bar Hill Tesco. Both suspects have been charged and will be appear in court soon.


If you have any information relating to the above crimes then please call 101, the non emergency number for Cambridgeshire Constabulary. Alternatively you can email me at bujar.mani@cambs.pnn.police.uk or you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency or if you believe a crime to be in progress please dial 999.

Kind Regards,

PCSO 7009 Bujar Mani
Histon Neighbourhood Policing Team

A Bakers Dozen Are On The Run At The Fire Service

Firefighting crews in Cambridgeshire have boosted their ranks after a batch of 13 new recruits joined the county's on-call team.

Melanie Bass (Ramsey), Tom Bellinger (Sutton), Tom Bruce (Littleport), Jason Cook (Gamlingay), Linford Desborough (Yaxley), Lee Fenn (Soham), Duncan Fraser (Ely), Paul Greaves (Papworth), Conor Garrod (Soham), Ritchie Hawkins (Yaxley), Joe Swales (St Ives), Ross Turner (Cottenham), and Henry Wisdom (Sutton) all qualified as on-call firefighters at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service after completing an intensive two-week training course in Huntingdon.

The on-call firefighters are fully trained professionals who save lives in their communities alongside their day-to-day lives. They may be at home or work when they receive a pager alert and straight away they must jump into action and get ready to deal with any incident.

The new recruits are now on-call after completing their training last month (March) and attend emergencies in their local communities. In about six months, after they have received practical experience and attended incidents, they will attend Breathing Apparatus (BA) training, after which they will be able to play a bigger role in incidents.

Some new recruits have other jobs and respond to 999 emergencies while they are at work thanks to the support of local employers, who recognise the importance of allowing their staff to respond to incidents.

There are also benefits to the employer and employee as on-call firefighters receive new skills and training which they may be able to use in their full time jobs as well.

On-call firefighters have to be aged 18 and over, have a good level of all-round fitness and live or work within five minutes travelling time of an on-call fire station.

CFRS is recruiting for on-call firefighters and to find out more call 01480 444500 or log on to www.cambsfire.gov.uk.

New Recruit Case Studies:
Melanie Bass (Ramsey)Mother-of-two Melanie Bass said she felt a real "sense of achievement" after passing out as an on-call firefighter at Ramsey Fire Station.

The 38-year-old from Ramsey Mereside, who has two teenage daughters, said being a firefighter was something she had always thought about but family commitments meant she didn¿t have the time until now.

She said: "My daughters are quite proud even if they do find it a bit bizarre. Some people are quite shocked when I tell them I'm a firefighter because it's predominately a male role.

"I spent a lot of time in the gym when I was preparing for the assessments and I'm fitter now than I've been my entire life."

Melanie works as an administrator in her family Shell and Auger Drilling business which means she is able to provide daytime and alternate weekend cover at the station.

She said her on-call duties also fit well around her hobbies of going to the gym, zumba, horse riding and shopping.

Tom Bruce (Littleport)Bar Manager Tom Bruce, 26, was looking for a new challenge when he decided to apply as an on-call firefighter at Littleport Fire Station.

The father-of-two said: "I used to be a bar manager in Newmarket and I was looking for a new challenge.

"My family are very impressed with what I¿ve achieved and decided to do and I¿m really enjoying it."

Tom said training was physically challenging but there were people of "all shapes and sizes" on the course and everyone coped really well.

His first shout was a chimney fire at the start of April, shortly after passing out. He said: "When my pager went off it was a bit of a shock but I just got to the station and prepared myself.

"Because it was a chimney fire and they're slower incidents, the commander had time to talk me through everything that was going on and how certain things were done, which was great."

Tom, who works at a local pub in Littleport, provides daytime cover at the station around his other family and work commitments.

Linford Desborough (Yaxley)University graduate Linford Desborough said being an on-call firefighter is a great, flexible job to fit around his aspirations of becoming a freelance drum teacher.

The 21-year-old said: "I saw an advert for on-call firefighters and thought it would be a really good job to do that is well-respected and worthwhile.

"It holds a lot of responsibility and is completely different to any other job I've had. Training has been the best bit and what I have learnt has completely exceeded my expectations."

When his pager went off for his first shout, Linford said it was "a bit surreal". He explained: "I was waiting for a call for days and it didn¿t go off. Then when it finally went off, I got a big adrenalin buzz. Everything went really quickly and all my training just kicked it. The incident was a car fire and I used a hose reel to put it out."

Music graduate Linford provides 24-hour cover at Yaxley from Monday through until Thursday, which he fits around playing the drums and his hobbies of running and kayaking.

Duncan Fraser (Ely)Sports coach Duncan Fraser, from Ely, said: "I've always wanted to be a firefighter to serve the community and to save lives.

"It's lots of hands-on learning and gaining experience by doing things, which I think is the best way to learn as I pick things up really quickly that way.

"When I got my first shout the adrenalin started pumping and I just jumped out of bed and ran to the station. It's exciting and satisfying sitting in the fire engine knowing you could be on the way to a big incident where you have the chance to save lives."

The 28-year-old qualified sports coach trains the Ely 1st Cricket team as well as playing cricket and rugby himself. At present, he is job hunting and said being an on-call firefighter, and the skills and training associated with the role, will hopefully help him land further employment.

Duncan also attended the service's biggest incident of the year so far - a fire at Amey Cespa Industrial Site, where he dug straight in and operated hose reels, light portable pumps and hydrants.

He added: "Being in the fire service makes you feel like you're part of successful team who are well respected and most importantly, help people."

Paul Greaves (Papworth)Growing up in a family of firefighters, Paul Greaves said becoming and on-call firefighter is a dream come true.

The dad-of-two from Great Cambourne is an arctic lorry driver for Mick George Skips by day and provides cover at Papworth Fire Station in the evenings and at weekends.

The 33-year-old, who was previously a Special Sergeant for Cambridgeshire Constabulary, said: "My granddad, dad, brother and uncles were, and are still, firefighters in Hertfordshire and I wanted to do it years ago.

"I wanted to become a firefighter to live my dream, but also to put something back into the community.

"My first shout was a chimney fire and I dived straight in and got my hands dirty helping the crew. I knew a few of the guys from Papworth before I started but there's a real sense of camaraderie and teamwork when we're out on a shout.

"I've been quite busy since joining and have already been on seven shouts. I'm constantly learning all the time and every job is different."

Paul, who plays rugby for Royston Rugby Club, has already attended two high-profile fires; the Amey Cespa Industrial Site and a deliberate industrial unit fire in Dry Drayton.

He said his wife and two children, Owen, 10, and Ruby, 3, are proud of him, and his friends are thrilled to see him live his dream.

Ross Turner (Cottenham)When community-focussed techie Ross Turner got married last year, one of the conditions he told his wife-to-be was that when they bought a house, it had to be within 5 minutes of one of Cambridgeshire's 24 on-call stations.

The 23-year-old said being a firefighter is something he has always wanted to do and after enrolling into a fire cadet scheme in Cambridge as a teenager, he was adamant he wanted the Service to be a part of his life.

The Cottenham resident said: "I'm really pleased I've achieved my lifetime goal and am looking forward to learning new things, training and developing myself as a person within the fire service.

"I enjoy the respect the job brings, the demands of it, and of course working with members of the community. I originally would have liked to have been a wholetime firefighter but now I'm just so happy to have achieved my main aim.

"When I got my first call it was a real rush and exciting. I wasn't nervous, just more eager to get going."

Ross was part of one of the crews at the recent Amey Cespa Industrial Site incident, covering a "graveyard" midnight until 4am shift. "I loved it," he said. "It was brilliant to see and learn more about really big incidents. It emphasised to me just how important all of our basic training was - especially communicating with each other."

Ross works for Cambridge Audio Visual, based in Cottenham, installing a range of electrical devices at institutions across the county and is an on-call firefighter in the evenings and at weekends.

He was heavily involved in Scouts before joining the Fire Service and was also a Community First Responder in Willingham, where he previously lived. As well as playing badminton, cycling and kayaking, Ross runs the technical side of Cottenham Theatre Workshops and local productions.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

A14 Histon And Girton Improvement Welcomed By Lib Dems


Plans to add an additional lane to the A14 between the Histon and Girton junctions have been welcomed by the Liberal Democrats.

They hope the move will help to improve safety on a stretch of the road which has seen numerous accidents and contributed to delays and congestion.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor, David Jenkins, who represents Cottenham, Histon and Impington said: “This is a positive development; a small improvement that is very welcome.

“This is a dangerous stretch of road and I have been campaigning for years to get something done. Hopefully, this improvement will help to cut the accident rate in this area.”

His ward colleague, Cllr Sue Gymer’s husband Richard was in an accident on the Girton interchange just before Christmas.

She said: “Thankfully he wasn’t injured but the car was a write-off. The accident caused big delays on the road and served to highlight just how unsafe this road can be. News of this improvement is extremely welcome and long overdue.

“But any further improvements must include mitigation for noise, light and air pollution - this is already designated an Air Quality Management Area by South Cambs.

Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert said: “I welcome this news; it’s a sensible option for a stretch of road that causes untold problems not only for motorists travelling on it but also for those living round it.

“Every time there is an accident on this stretch of the A14 traffic is diverted through Cambridge and its villages; this causes delays and congestion.

“We need this type of safety improvement along this road - I argued for this years ago. It is a shame urgent upgrades have waited so long because some people wanted a 10 lane superhighway.”

Stop Smoking Services Now At Central Library


Camquit, Cambridgeshire's local stop smoking service now has a new clinic in Central Library every Monday from 11.30am to 2.30pm.

Free, weekly one to one support and medicines to help smokers wanting to quit and manage their cravings will be available at the clinic. Research shows that smokers are four times more likely to successfully quit if they get support. There will also be free carbon monoxide checks and stop smoking plans - tailored to individuals.

Clair Mead Camquit coordinator said "We currently provide stop smoking support in a variety places, like your GP surgery, local pharmacy, workplaces and over the phone. Expanding to libraries is an exciting development for Camquit and we hope that local residents will find this a convenient location to access our support."

For more information visit Camquit.nhs.uk or call 0800 018 4304

One Week Left To Register To Vote



People in South Cambridgeshire have just one week left to make sure they are registered to vote in the upcoming Cambridgeshire County Council elections on 2 May.

All 69 seats on Cambridgeshire County Council are up for election, as well as three South Cambridgeshire District Council seats in Balsham, Meldreth and Orwell & Barrington wards and one seat on Little Gransden Parish Council.

Residents will only be able to vote in the election if they are on the register of electors by Wednesday 17 April. Registration forms can be downloaded from www.scambs.gov.uk/register

Any registered voters who will be away on 2 May can still apply for a postal vote. Forms can be downloaded from www.scambs.gov.uk/postal and must be returned by 5pm on Wednesday 17 April.

Forms can also be requested by emailing elections@scambs.gov.uk or by calling 03450 455 214.

To be able to vote at the County Council elections you must be 18 or over on 2 May.

Jean Hunter, South Cambridgeshire District Council chief executive and returning officer, said: “Most residents will have already registered to be able to vote via the annual canvass form sent to all homes last July. If you didn’t return your form, have moved home or are new to the area and haven’t registered, now is the time to act as the clock is ticking if you want to vote on 2 May. Please get your completed registration form back to us as soon as possible so you can have your say.”

Council Welcomes A14 Improvement Announcement

A multi-million scheme to improve the notoriously congested section of the A14 between Girton and Histon junctions of the A14 has been welcomed by Cambridgeshire County Council.

The Highways Agency has announced today that a scheme will be completed next year to widen the A14 to three lanes both east and west bound between the junctions. It is part of a wider announcement by the Government to remove pinch points and bottlenecks on UK roads.

The improvements will support the first phase of the development of the new town at Northstowe.

Cambridgeshire County Council, with partners, has been talking to the Highways Agency on possible schemes to improve this busy section of the A14 which is used by thousands of vehicles a year. The announcement is part of the short term and long term measures proposed for the route.

It fits in with the more comprehensive improvements along the route from Milton to Ellington designed to boost safety and the economy as well as reduce congestion.

The scheme will see a new third lane run from the Histon interchange westbound and join directly onto the M11 slip-road. Eastbound a new lane will run directly from the A14/ M11 interchange and link to the Histon interchange. This will help reduce congestion which can lead to long queues at peak times.

The Highways Agency says this scheme will be linked to the tranche two scheme that is being undertaken in the westbound direction and supports the Northstowe Phase One development. This has the potential to create 582 jobs and 1,480 new homes by 2020. It also supports the development of the gateways of Felixstowe Port and Harwich Port. It also consistent with the outputs from the A14 Challenge study, providing early improvements consistent with the proposed A14 major improvement scheme announced by the Transport Secretary on 18 July 2012. The Highways Agency says that the Histon to Girton scheme will cost £3.06 million and will start and be completed in 2014.

Alex Plant, Transport Director at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "This is very welcome news and follows the close working between the Council and the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency. This section of the A14 and its junctions are in desperate need of improvement. Today's announcements are part of the plans to put in place some short-term measures to alleviate some of the most pressing problems on the A14. However, the longer-term plans for enhancements to the A14, along with supporting rail and public transport improvements remain critical if we are to reduce congestion, improve safety and support growth. Cambridgeshire County Council, with its partners, will continue to work with Government to accelerate the longer term solution for this major transport corridor which is vital for the local, regional and wider UK economy."

Government Inspectors Give Thumbs Up To Supported Living Service


A County Council supported living service for people with disabilities in Cambridge has been given top marks by government inspectors.

The scheme in Wagstaff Close, Cambridge, underwent a routine unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and was found to be performing well in all aspects of the inspection.

The service provides support and accommodation for three service users.

The inspectors looked at the personal care and treatment records, checked how people were cared for at each stage of their treatment and care, talked with staff and checked record keeping. The service was found to be meeting all the required standards.

The CQC report states: "The provider was meeting all the standards inspected. People experienced care, treatment and support that met their needs and protected their rights."

Bar Hill Parish Council Planning Meeting - Tomorrow @ 1:30

Here's the agenda for tomorrows planning meeting;

1. To receive apologies for absence and declaration of interest
2. To approve minutes of Planning Committee Meetings held on 14.02.13
3. Matters for discussion and decisions to be made from previous minutes
3.1 Farmhouse – update
3.2 The Willows – letter from Ginn & Co
4. Planning Applications
4.1 Proposed roadside services – Trinity Foot, Swavesey
4.2 La Salle Investment Management – Units 12, 13, 17 and 18 Trafalgar Way – new roof covering
5. Planning Decisions:
There were no notifications of planning decisions for this meeting
6. Items for Information 

Public and press are invited to attend, if you have any comments you'd like raised let me know.

Girton Tree To Be Felled Due To Decay


Disappointed conservation bosses have announced that a local landmark tree in Girton is due to be felled from today due to decay that will eventually lead to it becoming unsafe.

The 50 – 60ft tall mature London Plane tree in the grounds of the Cambridge Academy of English had been covered by a Tree Protection Order, but permission to fell the tree has been given by South Cambridgeshire District Council after an independent investigation revealed the decay.

The Council’s tree experts have already advised local district councillor and the Parish Council about the need to fell the tree after an independent PICUS study – an industry-standard ‘ultrasound scan’ for trees – revealed the nature of the decay at its base.

In time, the tree’s vascular system would be disrupted which could lead to dieback of its crown, boughs dropping off or the whole tree falling over. Other protected trees in the district with similar problems have been left to stand when they are situated in areas where they can be safely fenced off, signposted and monitored; but the location of the Girton tree - next to a road and near houses - means that this is not an option in this case.

Cllr Nick Wright, South Cambridgeshire District Council cabinet member for conservation matters, said: “We work hard to preserve and enhance the landscape of our beautiful district, so allowing this magnificent tree to be felled is not a decision that we have taken lightly.  Regrettably, due to the tree’s location and the nature of the decay, both we and the Academy’s management team have concluded that felling the tree is the safest option.”

Simon Crisp of the Cambridge Academy of English, said: “It is a real shame that we’ve had to take the decision to fell this prominent tree in our grounds, but after expert advice this is the safest option. Our professional contractors will be working from this morning and the felling work is due to be completed in three to four days.”

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Villages Share £130,000 Grant Cash Pot

Twelve South Cambridgeshire villages are set to benefit from a share of £130,000 in grant funding to create and improve local facilities including sports pavilions, village halls and a new meeting place for young people.

The money has been awarded from South Cambridgeshire District Council’s capital grants scheme to help improve facilities for the benefit of local communities.

Cottenham Parish Council will receive £40,000 towards new changing rooms at the King George V playing fields whilst Harston Village Hall Trust and Steeple Morden Village Hall Committee were awarded £25,000 and £18,093 respectively for hall refurbishments.

Linton Parish Council and Granta FC will put £18,094 towards extensions and alterations to their pavilion and Willingham Parish Council will use their £13,000 grant to create a new venue for young people at the village’s Ploughman Hall.

Seven £2,500 grants were also awarded to the following projects:
  • Comberton Parish Council for an extension to the village recreation ground
  • Cottenham Parish Council for improvements to the skate park
  • Hinxton Parish Council for redevelopment of a playground
  • Histon and Impington Parish Council to buy land for a new recreation ground
  • Little Shelford Sports and Recreation Trust for a new sports pavilion
  • Longstowe Village Hall and Sports Ground Management Committee for a new village hall
  • Melbourn Parish Council for the new ‘Community Hub and Spoke’ development.
Cllr Pippa Corney, South Cambridgeshire District Council cabinet member for planning policy and localism, said: “We’re pleased to be able to help so many Parish Councils and voluntary groups create and improve facilities for their local communities.

“We have a range of grants available to support the outstanding quality of life that our district is known for, promoting community cohesion, helping residents of all ages to maintain healthy and active lifestyles and enhancing our beautiful village landscapes for today and the future.”

Information about the full range of South Cambridgeshire District Council grants and how to apply for them - including schemes for community groups, wildlife and ecology projects and community orchards - are available online at www.scambs.gov.uk/services/community-and-grants or by contacting the Council on 03450 450 500. A useful listing of other grant making bodies is also available from the same webpage.

Vote for Andy Pellew for the County Council in May

Cllr Andy Pellew with Lib Dem President Tim Farron
Local Parish Councillor Andy Pellew, who is also an existing Cambridgeshire County Councillor from King's Hedges in Cambridge City, will be seeking your vote for the County Council elections on Thursday 2nd May.

Andy Pellew said; "I'm delighted to have been chosen by the Liberal Democrats to contest the election on behalf of residents of Bar Hill Division which includes Girton and the villages of Lolworth, Boxworth, and Dry Drayton".

"The next four years will see significant development in our part of Cambridgeshire with groundbreaking of Cambridge Universities' North-West development and the new settlement of Northstowe. It's vital that we have someone on Cambridgeshire County Council who is willing to speak up for our villages, someone with a track record of action, independence and transparency."

"The decisions made in Shirehall will dramatically affect our lives; whether it's cutting local bus services, funding the legal fees for the Guided Busway, refusing to sell Shirehall which costs over a million a year to maintain, or tolling on the A14. It's vital that we have someone in Shirehall who is looking out for us."

"I hope, with the support of local residents, to be that person."

Andy Pellew lives in Bar Hill, and has served on the Parish Council since 2011. He's married with two small children (ages 2 and 4). He works on Cambridge Science Park so is very familiar with the problems of the A14!

The Liberal Democrats Manifesto for the 2013 Elections is available here.

If you'd like to contact Andy you can do so via email - andy.pellew@gmail.com -, via Phone 07814 871 752, or via post at 9 Foxhollow, CB23 8EP.


Monday, 8 April 2013

Village Pubs Added To Community Right To Bid Register


Two more pubs have been listed as ‘community assets’ allowing local groups to bid to purchase them if they come up for sale.

Applications by the local parish councils to add the pubs to the register were accepted by South Cambridgeshire District Council after the government introduced new rights and powers for communities as part of the Localism Act.

The Three Tuns in Guilden Morden, which closed at the beginning of the year, and The Queen Adelaide in Croydon, which is now up for sale, were added to the register after nominations demonstrated the buildings were of high value to the community.

The aim of the Right to Bid legislation is to help communities to keep valued buildings and land used by the community, such as recreation grounds, local pubs, shop or libraries, in community use.

South Cambridgeshire District Council has placed a local land charge on the properties so the owner must let the Council know when they intend to sell it so that the community can be informed.

Community groups are then given six weeks to state if they have an intention to bid for the asset and then have six months to put together a bid to purchase it for community use. The community bid must compete on the open market and the owner doesn’t have to accept this bid.

News at the end of March that the Queen Adelaide pub is up for sale began the six week period for local community groups to state an intention to bid and they have until 7 May to make their case.

A third pub, The Plough in Shepreth, is also listed as a community asset on the register.

Details of the Right to Bid process and assets listed on the register in South Cambridgeshire can be found by visiting www.scambs.gov.uk/content/community-right-bid

Cllr Pippa Corney, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for planning policy and localism, said: “Buildings where communities can get together are often the heart and soul of villages and this register is aimed at giving local groups the time needed for the business plan and financing to be organised to support a community bid.”

Weird And Wacky Vehicles Wanted For Driving Challenge

Owners of super-sized vehicles are being asked to step forward and hand their keys over to 200 women for a charity fundraiser.

More vehicles are needed for The Fire Fighters Charity Ladies Driving Challenge, held at Alconbury Airfield next month. At the event, a total of 200 women will get the chance to get behind the wheel of unusually large and quirky vehicles they would never normally get the chance to drive.

From arctic lorries, double-decker buses and combine harvesters to limousines, ice cream vans and quad bikes, a wide range of vehicles will be welcomed.

The annual fundraiser on May 12 is organised by Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service together with Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, with all funds raised going to The Fire Fighters Charity.

Jon Neish, Group Commander at CFRS and The Fire Fighters Charity representative, said: "We know there are dozens of generous local business owners in Cambridgeshire that have a range of vehicles and we¿re hoping some will step up and hand over their keys for this great cause.

"The day is lots of fun and gives charitable fundraisers the chance to be in the driving seat of vehicles they would never be able to drive out on the road in usual conditions."

Participants are given specialist training on the day by driving instructors and are supervised at all times.

If you have a vehicle you can donate for the day, get in touch by emailing ldc@bedsfire.com or calling (01234) 845130.

Nick Clegg Launches The Liberal Democrat 2013 Local Election Campaign

In three and a half weeks, people up and down the country will elect their local councillors. Each council seat will be fought on different terms. Each neighbourhood has its own, unique needs.

But I bet you that, when all those people are deciding which name to put a cross by on 2 May, ultimately they'll be asking themselves the same question: 'While cuts are being made to public spending, who can I rely on to spend the money that is available on the right things?'

'Which party can I rely on to strike the right balance: taking the difficult decisions to make savings, but doing so the fairest possible way?' These elections are about one thing: priorities.

Difficult decisions will need to be made in local government, just as in national Government, and people understand that. But they - rightly - expect that their representatives should make the fairest possible decisions.

Next month, in wards across the country, people will be confronted with the same choice. Despite all their stated differences, a vote for Labour or the Tories will be a vote for the same thing.

Their record in local government shows that, even when millions of families are feeling the pinch, they'll both squander taxpayers' money on waste, inefficiency and their own vanity projects.

A vote for the Liberal Democrats, on the other hand, is a vote for a party which - wherever we're in power - does it's best to spread the burden of austerity fairly, investing in jobs and help for hard-pressed families. Only the Liberal Democrats will build a stronger economy and a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life.

Only the Liberal Democrats have the right priorities in tough times. Just take our tax changes. Today is the first working day of the new tax year. Today, because of Liberal Democrat tax reforms, more of the money you earn will go into your own pocket, and less to the taxman.

That's because we've raised the point at which you start paying income tax, and now over 20 million people will pay £600 less in income tax than they did under Labour.

In households where two people are working, that's an extra £1200 a year. £1200 to cover energy bills, or car insurance, or mortgage repayments, or to go towards a family holiday.

And next April it'll go up again. People won't pay a penny of income tax on the first £10,000 they earn. Millions of the lowest earners won't pay any at all. At the same time we've asked for a bit more from those who can afford it. We've increased capital gains tax; introduced a higher rate of stamp duty and a £12.5bn banking levy; we've closed loopholes and capped tax relief to stop the very rich from gaming the system. And the Liberal Democrats will continue to argue for our mansion tax. The right priorities in tough times.

I know that Labour are trying desperately to gloss over these changes. They want to pretend that the only tax change this week is the reduction of the top rate, from 50p to 45p. But it's the same old selective amnesia we always get from the two Eds about Labour's time in office.

Out of the 13 years they were in power, Labour had the 50p rate in place for just 36 days. For most of the time, Labour's top rate was 40p. Not 45p. Not 50p. 40p - 5p less than now. And under the previous government a cleaner paid a higher rate of tax on their wages than a hedge fund manager selling their shares - a gross unfairness that we have fixed.

The sudden, synthetic fury we're seeing from the Labour party is nothing more than an attempt to distract people from the most important change coming into effect: the tax cut for ordinary working people delivered by the Liberal Democrats.

That policy was on the front page of our manifesto, it's been my priority from the moment we entered the Coalition, and now millions of people will feel the benefits.

In every single year of this Parliament the rich will pay a greater share of our nation's tax revenues than in any one year of the last government. The IFS have confirmed that, as a result of our changes, the wealthiest 10% of people are making the greatest contribution. So I will take no lectures from the Labour party on tax - the Liberal Democrats are making the tax system fair.

And it's not just in Whitehall that we're making the right choices, but in Liberal Democrat Town Halls too. Our councillors, like all councillors, have had to take some controversial decisions - I don't deny that.

But look at our record and it's clear that, wherever we can, Liberal Democrats are spreading the burden fairly, investing in ways that enable everyone to get on in life, not just the well off. That's why, for example, this year the Liberal Democrats haven't closed a single library.

Who have we done that for? For the bright teenager who comes from a chaotic home, but who wants a place to study so they can do well in their exams and go on to something better.

For the ambitious young men and women whose parents can't afford to buy them the books and technology they need, but who want to forge a different path. And, despite money being tight, we're investing in jobs for these young people too.

In Eastbourne and Watford, the Liberal Democrat councils are giving their town centres a boost - supporting thousands of local jobs. In Eastleigh, the Liberal Democrats are revitalising the local cricket ground so that it can host international test matches - that alone will create 500 new jobs. In Bath we're supporting high tech start-ups so that they can grow and take on more staff. In Northumberland we're building new council houses this year, providing homes as well as giving the local construction industry a shot in the arm. The right priorities in tough times.

You won't get that from the Conservatives. In Leicestershire, the former Conservative Council Leader spent £210,000 on his own personal chauffeur. In Somerset, because the Tories have insisted on cutting opening hours for rubbish tips and introducing charges to use them - a "tip tax" - flytipping has rocketed, leaving local residents stuck with the bill for cleaning it up. In the Cotswolds, after announcing nearly one and a half million pounds worth of cuts, how did the Conservative council try to boost staff morale? They hired a motivational magician - costing £19,000.

Here in Cornwall we've even seen the Conservative's waste money hiring taxis to ferry teas and coffees between council buildings - again, while trying to push through an increase in Council tax. A rise Cornish Liberal Democrats successfully stopped. When savings need to be made, you just cannot rely on the Tories to make the fairest decisions. Their instincts drag them in the wrong direction.

And what about Labour? What are their priorities? Today we'll hear from Ed Miliband about why people should vote for his party. Here's what he won't say. He won't say: Labour are sorry they crashed the economy. And he won't present a serious and detailed plan to fix the mess they created. That much we know.

The Labour party continue to be a blank page in British politics: they won't accept for responsibility for what went wrong; they haven't learnt from their mistakes; they have no ideas for the future. Above all, they are incapable of delivering a stronger economy. And it's the same from the leadership all the way down.

Do you know how the Labour council in Derby are choosing to spend residents' money? On emotive street posters passing all the blame for their cuts on to the Coalition Government, costing thousands of pounds - while at the same time they're looking to make drastic cuts to homelessness services.

The Liberal Democrats are different. Only we can deliver a stronger economy and a fairer society - both. Only we have the right priorities in tough times. And we now have a national and local record to prove it. Our party has a strong story to tell - a story not of promises, but of action.

But people won't hear our message unless you tell it to them. I know how hard you're all working. I am grateful for all of the hours you put in. But I need to ask you to work even harder.

If you are fighting an election in your area - deliver more leaflets, canvass more people, make more calls. If you're not fighting a council election - go somewhere that is, or make calls from wherever you are. Every wing of this party now needs to pull together, reminding our opponents that we have a unity, a resolve and a sense of purpose they could never compete with.

When the Liberal Democrats organise, no one campaigns like we do. Labour know it. The Tories know it. And they are going to throw everything at us - they haven't forgotten Eastleigh. But guess what? Nor have we. And when you feel that you've given all you can, I want you to think back to that great victory.

I want you to remember how good it felt to confound our critics; remember how good it felt to win. It's time to do it again, Liberal Democrats. Get out there and win.

List Of Election Candidates for Cambridgeshire County Council Election on May 2nd Published


A full list of candidates standing in the County Council elections on May 2 has now been published.

A total of 294 candidates are contesting the 69 seats on the Council - all of which are up for election in May. Of the present County Councillors, 21 are not standing for re-election.

The full list of candidates can be found in the PDF below (via Google Drive):

Cambridgeshire County Council Elections 2013 Statement of Persons Nominated

Residents of Cambridgeshire wishing to vote in the elections are being reminded that they must be registered first. Paying Council Tax does not automatically register the individual to vote, if you live in Bar Hill (in South Cambridgeshire) you need to complete the following form on the District Councils website;

Voter Registration Form - South Cambridgeshire District Council 2013

Potential voters have until 17th April to register.

If you would like to register for a postal vote then the form you need to complete is here. You do not need to be "away" in order to register to vote by post, the aim is to increase voter turnout by making voting more convenient so if you think you would benefit then please apply.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Bar Hill Community Market ** TODAY **


The next Bar Hill Community Market takes place today from 10:30am to 2pm in the Octagon next to the Church (a map, courtesy of OpenStreetView.org, is below).

Stalls include Fruit and vegetables, Homemade cakes, Jewellery, Cards, Confectionery, Jams, Knitted items, Patchwork, Bags, Wooden crafts, Beauty products as well as stalls raising funds for local projects.            

There will also be refreshments and, weather permitting, a BBQ.

If you wish to be part of this, or future, markets please contact us. Karen Austen 01954 781085 or Sue Gadsby 01954 200875

Please come and support your local community!

Bar Hill Community Market: Octagon Map

Friday, 5 April 2013

Consultation Event Seeks Views On Proposed New Football Stadium


Residents are being urged to field their views on a proposed new site for Cambridge City Football Club’s stadium at a consultation event next week.

South Cambridgeshire District Council is running a public consultation until 6 May to help residents have their say on the Football Club’s proposed new site for the stadium at Sawston.

The consultation event will take place on Tuesday 9 April at Spicers Pavillion, Cambridge Road, Sawston between 2.30pm and 8pm when planning officers and representatives from the Football Club will be on hand to talk residents through the proposals and to answer any questions they may have.

The proposal was submitted by Cambridge City Football Club for consideration in the Council’s Local Plan and includes a stadium that would accommodate 3,000 people - including 500 seated - 300 parking spaces, two floodlit pitches and conference and fitness facilities that would be available to the public.

The proposed site to the north of Sawston, immediately northwest of Dales Manor Business Park was a former tip that is currently unused. The stadium would account for just under half of the site and Cambridge City Football Club proposes that the remaining land be gifted to the Parish Council for community use.

Information on the proposals can also be found on the Council’s website where residents can have their say online using the interactive form at www.scambs.gov.uk/ldf/localplan via email to ldf@scambs.gov.uk or by letter to Director of Planning and New Communities, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambourne Business Park, Cambridge CB23 6EA. The consultation will close at 5pm on Monday 6 May.

Cllr Pippa Corney, cabinet member for planning policy and localism, said: “This consultation is an important opportunity for local residents to have their say on Cambridge City Football Club’s proposed new stadium and to influence the future growth and development of their area. I would encourage everyone to have a look at the proposals and submit their comments to the Council.  Tuesday’s event will offer a perfect opportunity for residents to raise questions and actively share their views and we really would like to see people come along and take part.”

The proposed Cambridge City Football Club stadium in Sawston is a separate proposal to the Community Stadium for the Cambridge Sub–Region, which the Council consulted on in January and, which could provide a new home for Cambridge United Football Club.

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert Praises Fair Tax Changes


Julian Huppert MP has hailed today’s Income Tax cut as a giant leap towards the Liberal Democrat goal of a fairer tax system.

Commenting, Julian Huppert said, “today, the Personal Allowance will be raised to £9,440 – the largest rise ever. This means that 271,000 ordinary basic rate taxpayers in Cambridgeshire will see their Income Tax cut for the third year in a row. That will bring the total Income Tax cut since Labour’s time in government to £600.

“Thanks to this rise in the Personal Allowance, nearly 20,000 of the lowest paid people in Cambridgeshire will have been lifted out of paying any Income Tax at all, and the income tax paid by someone on the National Minimum Wage will be halved.
 
“Our fairer tax policies, now being delivered in Government, are a real help for ordinary people in these difficult times. The Lib Dems are continuing to fight for a fairer society and a stronger economy, enabling everyone to get on in life.

“Labour doubled taxes for lower paid workers by abolishing the 10p tax rate, and now they stand on the side-lines denying their responsibility for the economic mess they created. In Cambridge, the Labour Party is even opposing our tax cut for workers. It shows that people still can’t trust them to make the right decisions on the economy.

"When Labour left office, someone earning just 6,500 was having to pay income tax - I am delighted that they will no longer have to. People earning up to £9,440 will now pay absolutely no income tax as a result of our changes. They will keep money they desperately need; Labour apparently want to take their £600 back from them.

“At the same time, we know that you can’t trust the Tories to deliver a fairer society. It is thanks to Liberal Democrats in Government that 24m basic rate taxpayers are getting an Income Tax cut today. And Liberal Democrats in the Coalition are cracking down on tax avoidance and ensuring the wealthy pay their fair share.

“Here in Cambridgeshire it’s the Lib Dems who are fighting to deliver both a stronger economy and a fairer society. While the Tory run County Council cuts local bus services and Adult Mental Health budgets, the Liberal Democrats would protect our much needed services rather than looking after Councillors’ own interests. We would make Cambridgeshire a better place to live.”

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Special Delivery For Fly Tipper


A Huntingdon resident has been fined after a mailbox containing letters addressed to her were found amongst junk dumped in Willingham.

Domestic waste consisting of black sacks of children's toys, timber, carpets and a metal mailbox were discovered in Aldreth Causeway, Willingham following a tip off from a member of the public.

Ms Charmaine Dixon of Rodney Road, Hartford, Huntingdon, accepted that the mailbox was hers but failed to co-operate with South Cambridgeshire District Council’s investigation after denying that she had fly-tipped the waste or that she had arranged for anyone else to dispose of it for her.

Ms Dixon was charged with failing to comply with a notice to answer questions in respect of an environmental crime investigation and pleaded not guilty. Cambridge Magistrates’ Court found her guilty on Thursday (28 March) and ordered her to pay a £250 fine, Council costs of £250 and a £25 victim surcharge.

Cllr Sue Ellington, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for environmental services, said: “There is no excuse for dumping waste in the countryside as it is a blight on the landscape. Our residents detest fly tipping and we take a tough stance to make sure the message is heard loud and clear that it will not be tolerated.

“Please remember that if someone offers to take your waste away check that they are licensed to do so. If waste from your home is found dumped you will be held responsible and action will be taken.”

To check for licensed traders visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk and search the public register for waste carriers. You can also telephone 08708 506 506.

If you see someone in the act of fly tipping please contact the Police on 999. To report waste that has been fly tipped, please contact Chris Bradley at South Cambridgeshire District Council on 03450 450 063, or email chris.bradley@scambs.gov.uk.

Cash Windfall For Community Groups


Fifteen community groups in South Cambridgeshire are celebrating after sharing a cash injection of almost £11,000 to support their projects.

The Council awarded £1,000 to Eltisely Parochial Church Council for the construction of a new kitchen, toilet and improved storage facilities for the benefit of the local community.  Meanwhile young people in the neighbouring village of Little Gransden will benefit from a £1,000 grant awarded to The Zone Youth Club for new equipment.

Whaddon Village Hall and Recreation Ground Trust received £1,000 for new furniture whilst nearby Melbourn Amateur Dramatic Society received £260 towards the cost of scenery, costumes and props and Foxton Bowls Club received £1,000 for a new bowling green surround.

The Council awarded £328 to the recently launched Ickleton Tennis Club to purchase basic start-up kit and £1,000 to Bourn Parish Council to help wards the cost of safety surfaces for a children’s play area.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Community Chest grants are available to small voluntary organisations, charities and community groups for activities and projects that benefit local people.

Cllr Ray Manning, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “This money will be a welcome boost for community and voluntary groups across the district and will support the on-going activities and services they deliver for communities.

“These groups demonstrate great enthusiasm for meeting the demands and needs of local people, but their ambitions are often constrained by available resource and I am very pleased that we have been able to support them.”

For information about applying for a grant visit www.scambs.gov.uk/content/community-chest-grants or contact Joseph Minutolo in South Cambridgeshire District Council’s community team on 03450 450 500.

Lib Dems Publish 2013 Manifesto: "Making Cambridgeshire A Better Place To Live"

Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats have launched their manifesto (see here) for the forthcoming County Council elections, which sets out how they would make the county a better place for people to live in its cities, towns and villages.

They would do so by providing better basic services, making it easier for people to get around, and looking after our environment, in stark contrast to the Conservative administration.

Leader of Cambs Lib Dems Cllr Kilian Bourke explained: "Cambridgeshire's economy depends on quality of life more than any other shire county in England, and the Conservatives just do not get this.

"Unlike the coal industry, which tends to stay near where the coal is, an economy based on knowledge and research requires people and companies to choose to come here and to stay here as well. If their needs and desire are not being met they can and will go elsewhere."

"The crucial economic role of local government in this equation is to maintain and enhance quality of life by providing good public services, which is something that the local Conservatives have comprehensively failed to do."

He said that although the Conservatives talk of being "open for business" they neglect the very services a Council is supposed to provide to its citizens and businesses, citing as evidence of this the £2M being spent on interest payments for the Guided Bus and the equivalent cuts being made to local bus services, the botched streetlight replacement program, a waste recycling plant that doesn't work, the serious shortage of local childcare places, cuts to Adult Mental Health budgets and our crumbling roads and pavements.

"To this end the Liberal Democrats would provide better basic services, which would include improving our primary school buildings and ensuring that there is a sufficient supply of nursery places locally, as well as repairing our pavements.

"We would make it easier for people to get around the county by stopping the Tory cuts to our bus service, creating a rail link to Wisbech, and building the Chisholm Trail in Cambridge and strategic cycle links around the county.

"To fund our proposals we would sell the County's overgrand HQ, which costs £1M a year to maintain poorly, and invest in renewable energy sources that would bring in £2.5M each year to fund basic services."

"In this way we would ensure that the County Council played its part in improving quality of life for all of Cambridgeshire's residents, and help to build a stronger, greener and more socially just local economy."

Cambridge Carbon Footprint: April 2013 Newsletter


Our big fundraising auction takes place on 27th April, so check some of the fantastic offers available on our website and come to bid on fantastic low-carbon goods and experiences for a great cause! We can still accept a few more auction lots, if you have a unique experience you would like to offer. Get in touch as soon as possible with stephanie@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org to discuss!

Our final Carbon Conversations group before autumn is starting on 17th April, and there is only one place left, so if you want to take part this spring, be quick and read more below or on our website.

Cambridge Carbon Footprint outreach group is looking for new members, and so we are organising a training workshop for new outreach volunteers. Our outreach group members give talks and run workshops in schools, colleges, businesses and institutions, and the training workshop gives practise in introducing and discussing climate change with varied audiences.
Runnings workshops with CCF is great fun and gets one acquainted with lots of interesting people and topics, so I can warmly recommend taking part!
Laura, outreach volunteer

Continuing Carbon Conversations group still has some spaces left, and the next meeting is on Wednesday 10th April. If you'd like to continue benefiting from the friendly support of Carbon Conversations groups, read more below.

1. Continuing Carbon Conversations 10 AprilWednesday 10 April, 7.30 - 9pm

Next Wednesday evening several of us will be meeting at Bev's house for a Continuing Carbon Conversations session, mainly about our general consumption and how to develop a more low-carbon lifestyle, although we may touch on other topics as well. Normally we share successes and difficulties and exchange tips on sustainable living and the evening is relaxed, supportive and friendly. This will be the second of a series of four meetings for people who have already participated in a Carbon Conversations group and there are still a couple of places if you would like to join us. Email bev@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org if you are interested.

2. Beginners Sewing Workshop 13 AprilSaturday 13 April, 11am - 3pm, CCF office off Milton Rd

Did you know that around 30% of clothing in UK wardrobes has not been worn for at least a year, most commonly because the clothes no longer fit? Extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints made by clothing! Learning to alter and repair your own clothes is a vital skill that will allow you to bring new life to your clothes and cut down on waste.

Towards that end CCF is offering a sewing workshop on 13th April consisting of two optional sessions.

11am to 12:30pm – session 1.
12:30pm to 1:30pm – break (bring your own lunch if you’re staying for the second session)
1:30pm to 3:00pm – session 2.

For both sessions you can choose to learn about either hand sewing skills (such as small repairs, buttons, hemming), OR make a tote bag on a sewing machine to pick up a few simple skills that useful in altering clothes (great if you’ve got a machine you never get around to using or are thinking of buying one). If you’d like to learn both, you can sign up for both the am and pm sessions to get the full experience, or just pick what you’re most interested in for one session.

Booking is very essential! Please note that the machine sewing sessions are now full and we are accepting names for the waiting list, but there are still a few places in both the am and pm hand sewing sessions. Send an email to info@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org or call 01223 301842 to register.

Both sessions are free and will be held at our office off Milton Road (address here), but small donations to help cover costs would be helpful! Bring along any clothes you might have that need a bit of repair or hemming for practice, we’ll have some as well. For the tote bag/sewing machine session, the machine and materials will be provided.

The workshops will be led by expert sewers and clothing upcyclers Lesley Guebert and Fiona Riggall.

3. Climate Friendly Homes – Surveyor Training 16 AprilTuesday 16 April, 7.30 - 9pm, Cambridge Carbon Footprint, Future Business, Milton Rd, Cambridge CB4 1UY

Interested in making homes cosier and more energy efficient and keen to help others?Why not come to this training and become a surveyor for CCF’s Climate Friendly Homes Project?

Climate Friendly Homes provides a free service to householders to help them make practical plans to reduce their carbon emissions.

Surveyors will learn how to:
create an individualised report offering suggestions and advice about what can be done to cut the carbon footprint of a home
provide information tailored to individual circumstances on grants, suppliers and discount
give home owners advice and support

If you would like to book a place on the training please email info@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org.

We want our events to be as accessible as possible. Please contact us if you have any additional needs and we will do our best to accommodate them.

4. Carbon Conversations starting 17 AprilWednesday 17 April, 7.30 - 9.30pm, Hills Road (near the station)

Carbon Conversations is a series of six practical and friendly evening meetings to help you discover low-carbon living with like minded people. Led by trained facilitators the meetings the group will explore the basic climate change problem, their responses to it, their ideas for a low-carbon future and the four key areas of the footprint – home energy, travel, food and other consumption. Most members make reductions of 1 tonne CO2 during the meetings and develop plans to halve their footprints over a longer period.

“This course is brilliant because it doesn’t preach, and it doesn’t make you feel guilty. It asks stimulating questions, provides clear information and helps you make your own decisions.”

“Taking part in carbon conversations was incredibly useful for me because it really helped me to feel comfortable with my consumer choices. It finally gave me the information I needed to make choices that I had struggled over before.”

Join us for a new Carbon Conversations group at Hills Road (near the station) and discover your low-carbon life. The group will meet 7.30pm – 9.30pm, April 17th, May 1st, 15th, 29th and June 12th, with the sixth meeting to be decided as a group.

For more information or to book email info@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org.

Cost is just £15 which includes a handbook.

5. Mill Green Brewery Tour 20 AprilSaturday 20 April, 9.30am - 2pm

Cambridge Carbon Footprint is pleased to offer a tour of Mill Green Brewery in Suffolk this April. Mill Green Brewery is a multi award-winning forward-thinking, but traditional brewery, using green technologies and local resources in brewing their beer. We will be carpooling to the brewery for our very own tour.

Check out some of Mill Green’s green credentials:
The brewery building was built using local wood, reclaimed bricks, sheeps wool, and lime plaster.
The brewing liquor is heated using bio and solar power.
A 3000 litre storage tank is constantly heated by our solar panels and is then topped up to brewing temperature by a high efficiency wood boiler. (All the wood coming from a local Suffolk Wildlife Trust wood).
They have a field 3 miles away in Chelsworth where they grow a large amount of our own malting barley and hops.
A 6kw 9m wind turbine is situated on the campsite and helps provide electricity for the site
The used grains are fed to local cattle, and the hops spread on the White Horse’s beer garden hedge.

Details:
The cost for the tour is £20 and includes a meal and a pint at the White Horse pub, which is right next door to the brewery.
We will be carpooling from Cambridge (if you would like to be one of our drivers, please let us know in your booking request), leaving Cambridge by 9:30am, to arrive at the brewery around 10:45am. The location to meet for carpool will be given upon booking.
The tour will start at 11am and last for about an hour.
We will return to Cambridge after lunch, around 2-2:30pm.
To book, please email info@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org or call 01223 301842.

6. Training workshop for CCF’s outreach programme 25 AprilThursday 25 April, 7.30 - 9.30pm

Would you like to join our outreach team and co-facilitate workshops or give presentations to different organisations on behalf of CCF?

We are offering a training course for people interested in running workshops and giving presentations, as part of CCF’s essential outreach. Our outreach team ran 14 workshops for other organisations during 2012, from schools and colleges to businesses and the British Antarctic Survey.

The 2-hour sessions will be facilitated by Liz Serocold and Bev Sedley from 7.30-9.30pm on Thursdays April 25th, May 9th (and May 23rd if there are more than four participants). During the first session, participants will choose a partner and a topic. Between sessions the pair will plan a 1-hour session on their topic for a particular audience of their choice. During the second (and possibly third) session, each pair will have the opportunity to present 15 minutes of their session to the rest of the group, which will provide a safe option to try out presentation/workshop skills. Participants will give and receive constructive feedback in this supportive atmosphere and will need to attend all three sessions.

This will be a closed group for a maximum of eight people and a minimum of four. It’s a great opportunity to develop your presentation and workshop skills with a view to putting these into practice later on, helping us to increase other organisations’ understanding of climate change and carbon reduction. Ideally you should have completed a Carbon Conversations course or other low carbon/sustainability training and have some experience of leading groups or speaking in public. See here for more information about our outreach programme.

For more information or to book please contact Alana at alana@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org.

7. Goods and Experiences Fundraising Auction 27 AprilSaturday 27 April, 7.30 - 9.30pm, St. Andrew’s Hall, St. Andrew’s Road, Chesterton

Get ready to scoop up some amazing experiences at our Fundraising Auction this April! The evening will include both a silent and a live auction of over 25 fantastic prizes donated from businesses and individuals around Cambridge. Unlike most auctions which only focus on taking home “stuff”, the main focus of our auction is unique experiences and services donated by CCF volunteers and supporters.

Some of the lots up for auction include:

- A one-day bicycle maintenance training course, courtesy of Outspoke Cycle Training
- A behind the scenes tour of The Polar Museum at the Scott Polar Research Institute for up to 10 people
-Self-catering accomodation for 2-8 people at the Cowshed in Waveney Valley courtesy of Bikeways Unlimited, either 4 nights during the week or a two night weekend break
- Three course formal dinner for two in Clare College’s 17th Century Great Hall, on a Friday during term-time
-An evening (or afternoon) of board game instruction and play for between 2 to 4 people for any of the following games (you can select more than one): Settlers of Catan, Carcassone, 7 Wonders, Munchkin, EcoFlux, or Pandemic
- Two dinner party desserts for a single occasion, to be delivered to your home
- A personal styling session from a member of our Second Hand Style team, whose work is being featured in the April issue of Style magazine

And so many other amazing items! Payment for lots must be settled on the evening, with only cash or cheque please. See you there!

8. Vegan Baking Workshop 8 MayWednesday 8 May, 6.30 - 9pm, Parkside Community College

Following from our highly popular Burgers Delight and Super Salads workshops earlier this year, CCF is pleased to offer a workshop on Vegan Baking this May.

Our expert vegans, Oscar Gillespie and Tehnuka Ilanko will show you common substitutions and give you the chance to try out a couple recipes on the evening. Remember to bring a container to take home your baked goodies in!

We are switching venues to Parkside Community College (CB1 1EH). Materials will be included, but to cover the costs of these materials, we suggest a donation of £3-5, which can be paid in person on the night.

To register, please email info@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org. Space is limited and tends to fill up early, so register soon to avoid disappointment!

9. Annual General Meeting 16 MayThursday 16 May, 7.30 - 9.30pm, St. Lukes Church, Victoria Road.

It’s been a great year for CCF, and it’s time to take a look back at what we’ve accomplished and where we’d like to go. Join us for our Annual General Meeting where we will present highlights from our annual report for 2012 and give a look at what’s coming up in the year ahead.

There’s no need to book, but if you would like to vote on trustee appointments or other matters you need to become a company member, which is as simple as filling out a form. Contact alana@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org for more information.

10. Living Well with Less Stuff 22 MayWednesday 22 May, 7.30 - 9.30pm, venue TBC

A year ago a group of us at CCF decided to try living one year with less stuff. Each of our challenges was personal: some of us just reflected on our consumption, others pledged to buy nothing but essentials for the whole year. Come and find out what it was like for those of us Living Well with Less Stuff: how did we do? Was it enjoyable, agonising, hair-shirt or satisfying? What did we learn?

The event will include a pannel of our participants, a swap shop and other activities to help you live well with less stuff too. Booking is required, just emailinfo@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org or call 01223 301842 to save a place!

11. Still a chance to catch up on second-hand style!If you missed our Second Hand Style event on 15th March, you can visit our past events page for photos and a video of the fashion show, as well as links to our spread in Cambridge Style Magazine this month and our guest spots on Cambridge 105 discussing second hand fashion. If you're in the city centre, you can also check out our photo and clothing display on Sussex St. from 8th to 22nd April, courtesy of Changing Spaces.

12. Gardening in April: Get prepared for the return of spring!On a late March morning I awoke to find a layer of snow covering the garden. Ironically, the same day a local church newsletter dropped on the doormat announcing ‘Warm Easter greetings….’. The snowfall was light in Cambridge, but other parts if the UK received heavy falls and drifts brought by the strong easterly winds from Siberia. It is not unusual to experience snow and cold weather at Easter time (e.g. significant snow at Easter 2008), but the recent long spell of winter is quite unprecedented.

Read Keith Jordan's full article on our website.

13. Cold Man of Europeby Tom Bragg

Most UK housing is so poor that Britain has become the “Cold man of Europe”, with the worst fuel poverty in Western Europe. I wish the Green Deal success, but it won’t deliver the home energy improvements we need. The Energy Bill Revolution, calls on the government to deliver warm homes and lower energy bills by using the money it gets from carbon taxes to make homes super-energy efficient. Please consider signing their petition.

The government’s Renewable Heat Incentive, supporting heat-pumps, solar thermal and biomass heating has been delayed again. Heat-pumps would get better still if wedecarbonise our electricity - with much more renewable and low-carbon energy (not gas!)

You’ve probably seen the 26MW Wadlow Wind Farm, near West Wratting, on Cambridge’s SE skyline. It caused considerable protest. Does it offend you? I like its place in the landscape and was delighted to see hares & skylarks enjoying it too.

Solar PV farms are springing up too, like the 5MW sites at Wilburton, Haslingfield andChittering . Now a 13MWinstallation is planned at Wimpole. Sheep will graze the site, which could easily be returned to normal farm land after its 25 year design life. Please comment in support of this application.

As with these commercial PV developments, it’s still a good time for you to install PV, if you have a house with a suitable roof. Although the FITs subsidy has been cut, so has the installation cost, still giving a good return if you can afford the outlay - now less of a barrier.

14. Ro Randall: Funny weather, funny feelings and what we expect from scientistsLast week government chief scientist John Beddington stepped down with words similar to those of the ‘perfect storm’ speech with which he took office in 2009. Then he warned that the threats of climate change combined with food, water and energy shortages would converge in 2030 in a storm of social and political upheaval. This time, in an interview with John Humphreys on Radio 4’s Today programme his time frame had shifted. Although he made the usual caveat ‘We can’t attribute any one event…’ Beddington was clearer than many scientists who appear on radio or TV that the strange weather the UK has experienced over the last 18 months is the effect of a changing climate. Unusual drought, followed by unusual rain, followed by unusual cold is the kind of unpredictable variability that the science would predict, he said.

Read Ro Randall's full article at rorandall . org.

15. Grow Your Own Session in Trumpington 13 AprilSaturday 13 April, 10am - 1pm, Trumpington allotments

Join experienced allotmenteer Dave Fox on his plot in Trumpington. These sessions are for novices and people with any amount of practical growing experience - it's more of a mutual sharing than a lesson! In the April session we will be sowing various crops including potatoes and nurturing early crops in the community polytunnel. Booking essential. More onTransition Cambridge website.

16. Transition Cafe: Permaculture film "Building with Nature" with Gay Veal 18 AprilThursday 18 April, 7.30 - 9pm, CB1 Cafe, 32 Mill Road

Gay Veal will introduce the film that she and her husband made while living in Brazil over a 10 year period. They had acquired 100 acres of land in the beautiful setting of the Serra Sao Jose (mountains) near Tiradentes in the state of Minas Gerias. The area was designated the equivalent of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is home to rare dragonflies, butterflies, monkeys and orchids. Nevertheless the forest had been felled 20 years previously and most of the trees were secondary growth. It had recovered well in that time and they planted many more trees, including native fruits. Their aim was to increase the natural habitat and build a sustainable house from local materials. Their 40-min film shows the methods and materials they used across the two years it took to complete it without electricity, using basic tools and water from springs on the land. They had horses and chickens as well as an organic vegetable garden. Their builders, from the nearby village, still had the memories and skills of building with earth. Gay will give a short introduction to the film and will answer questions at the end. All welcome, free.

17. Community Food Enterprises - Cropshare, Cambake and Sustainable Souk 22 AprilMonday 22 April, 7.30 - 9.30pm, Friends Meeting House, Jesus Lane

This green enterprise session focuses on “Community Food”, looking at three different early stage community food enterprises in the Cambridge area: Cropshare (a Community Supported Agriculture scheme working with a local farmer), Cambake (a community supported bakery), and Sustainable Souk (an online ordering and cycle delivery service for local food). All have been incubated in the Transition Cambridge Food Group. We will hear the inside story – the principles that underlie a community food enterprise, and the vision, opportunities and challenges for each. Do join us to learn more about these inspiring local examples, contribute your ideas about how they can overcome the challenges they are facing, and discuss how we can build a resilient local food system. As usual in Green-enterprise events, the evening will be participative and will include plenty of time for discussion with the speakers and other participants. All welcome, cost £5. More at:http ://www . green-enterprise . org/