December 2022 County Councillor’s Report

CONTENTS: Consultations, disposal of sofas, chairs, cushions etc, A14 Trees, Green pension fund decisions, Repair café funding, 20mph, budget, household support fund.

Consultations: -GCP Making Connections – now closed.  Over 23,000 responses have received to the GCP’s Making Connections consultation, this is the largest number of responses for any GCP consultation.  The data will be sorted and analysed before a decision on next steps is taken.  This will not be a quick process. 
I am still very happy to talk to anyone about this and more importantly to listen.   These conversations are invaluable for me so please get in touch.

Waterbeach to Cambridge busway consultation  goes live for 8 weeks at the end of January. The new busway will meet the current busway on the Impington side of the A14 bridge running down through Impington farmland from Landbeach after crossing the A10 from Waterbeach.   There will be a West Impington bus stop but it is quite a long way out of the village so please do engage with the consultation.  There will be an active travel route along the length of the busway up to the new A10 bridge at Waterbeach.  Waterbeach will be a town the size of Ely so it will not just be a route into town there will be lots of links between Waterbeach new town and our communities so it’s important that we have our say and try to get this right.
A Greener Cambridgeshire
Sofa’s, cushions and persistent organic compounds. You may have heard that for about 7 days the County Council stopped allowing sofa’s, chairs and some soft furnishing into the household recycling centre dues to changes in advice from the Department of the Environment.  All household recycling centres are now open to such items again.  Waste is an extremely complex and expensive thing to manage and this situation was not intended to happen but it does raise a larger point.  All these items are incinerated.  Although the name ‘Household recycling centres’ implies that items are recycled the above class of items will now all be incinerated (previously they went to landfill so still not recycled).  This is not part of a circular economy.   This disruption to service gives us a prompt to consider more carefully our purchases.  Everything has a carbon footprint in it’s manufacture and the carbon in these items literally goes up in smoke.  What can we do?  Think carefully about changing sofa’s and large items, is there any life left in your old sofa or chair? Could it be free cycled?  If you want new cushions do you need new inners can you just change your cushion covers as cushion inners are incinerated.  Small changes to how we each live do add up.
A14 Trees – I am extremely disappointed to report that National Highways will not be replanting trees here this year despite their ongoing claims that they take this matter seriously.  I will publish the information and explanation for this and answers to questions I have received either on my blog or with HiHub.  It is really disappointing.
Green pension fund decisions – The County Council pension fund – which includes 350 scheme employers including the County Council and other local authorities as well as academies and various other companies has approximately £97m or 2.3% of its £4bn total, invested in companies which work predominantly in the area of fossil fuel which are noted to be largely ‘passive’ – that is, intended to track market performance/indices as opposed to funds that have a more active management strategy. The council agreed to change the terms of the pension fund to work with companies and funds that it invests in to ensure that they are actively pursuing environmentally positive policies to eliminate carbon emissions, and disinvest in them quickly if not.  Whilst this is a welcome change. Ultimately the pension fund must go further but there have been significant challenges in terms of entrenched beliefs and the political make up of pensions committees which has representatives from other councils in the county in getting even this far.  
Repair café funding – Although this will focus on the Huntingdonshire District Council and Fenland areas around £10,000 was agreed to be found to be spent on the Repair Café network, this will be lead by Impington resident Nicole Barton from Cambridgeshire Carbon Footprint and something which I steered through the county.  Catching up with Nicole she says that she has already been inundated with requests to move this forward. We have the most thriving area of Repair café’s in the country and this is something I am really pleased to see the County Council get behind.
20mph – Applications will open in the spring for communities to request 20mph speed reductions.  The detail of this scheme has yet to be agreed.  The County Council has ring fenced £400,000 and there is an additional £800,000 from the Combined Authority.  Final decisions as to which communities are successful will come to the County Council’s highways committee.   If you would like to see a 20mph zone here please contact your community or parish council and copy me in with details of what you would like to see.  It is important to establish community feeling on this.
A Fairer Cambridgeshire
Budget – Inflation has put significant pressure on the County Council’s budget.  The deficit for next year began at £29 million and has been reduced. There was a focus on not cutting front line services which means that many other things the council was able to do have had to be cut such as the Cultivate grant and the size of the Think communities team. It is hoped that increased funding can be found for Highways maintenance to overcome the inflationary pressure so no real term decrease in maintenance is seen.  Everyone is aware of the maintenance issues but there is simply not enough money to put everything right. The Joint Administration’s decision to pay careworkers at a living wage rate has been a good decision as it has forestalled a  financial and recruitment crisis here, it’s an extremely challenging situation but it could be worse.  The Joint Administration’s decision to fund free school meal recipient’s food vouchers and play schemes during holidays has been a really good decision for those most in need in the current cost of living crisis. The County Council’s investment in renewables has also been successful as they have been significant revenue generators. A Council tax increase to the maximum allowable amount will be almost impossible to avoid this year.
The Household support fund is still open for those in need-  You are eligible to access this support through the Household Support Fund if: You were born on or before 30 September 1956 You live in Cambridgeshire You are experiencing financial hardship No one under the age of 19 (born after the 30 September 2003), lives with you Apply to Age UK CAP on 01223 221929 or email Other households are eligible to access this support through the Household Support Fund if you earn less than £17,940 per year or are in receipt of one of the following: Income Support Income-based Job Seekers Allowance Income-related Employment and Support Allowance Pension Credit Universal Credit Working Tax Credit Apply online


Report a Highways fault If you see a problem; blocked gully/ drain, pot hole or other Highways issue please report it using the tool below.
Adult care assessment Call centre: 0345 045 5202  8am – 6pm Mon to Fri,  9am – 1pm Sat Do get in touch with me directly if you have any problems, questions or concerns.
I’ve got a problem who do I contact? Organisational structure in Cambridgeshire is complicated, just ask the question.  Email me, a District Councillor or the Parish Clerk we’ll all point you to the right person (or try to).
Climate Emergency the county council wants to hear your thoughts.  What are your ideas?  What have you done?  What projects could do with some help?  The County Council really wants to hear your ideas email .  
Government Structure in Cambridgeshire  detailing responsibilities
County Council; education, transport, highways, heritage, social care, libraries, trading standards, ­waste management, maintaining their estate.
District Council; council tax payments, household bin collections, housing and housing benefits, council leisure facilities, environmental health, residential planning, local emergency, community policing contact point.
Parish/ Community Council; looking after community buildings, open spaces, allotments, play areas, bus shelters, community projects.
Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) ‘The local delivery body for a City Deal with central Government worth up to £500 million over 15 years to deliver infrastructure (decarbonising transport), 44,000 new jobs, 33,500 new homes and 420 additional apprenticeships.’ Partnership between Cambridge City Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, University of Cambridge
The Combined Authority, Cambridge and Peterborough, our elected Mayor (CPCA)  A board consisting of representatives from the District, City and County Councils and Peterborough Unitary Authority, headed by the Mayor.   Responsible for – Business support, skills, housing, transport strategy-liaising with Department of Transport, environment, international, digital connectivity, resilience, research and strategy and new homes.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Cambridge and Peterborough To support and challenge the Chief Constable to provide effective and efficient policing services for the area. 
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority the governing body responsible for the fire and rescue service, made up of County Councillors and Peterborough City Councillors.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s