Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Ex punk musician Feargal Sharkey fronts water management event

Wednesday, 02 December 2020 11:21

River Cam River Cam Image from Wikimedia Commons


CPRE joins Feargal’s live stream in call to save our water ways and water supplies


Ex punk musician and campaigning trout fisherman Feargal Sharkey is fronting efforts to protect our rivers and water supplies at an online event open to CPRE members.

Activist Feargal will join a host of organisations placing the way in which rivers are being polluted, used and abused, under the spotlight at the event being streamed live on Tuesday 8 December, 6 to 8 pm.

Poor water management and new developments are all threatening the rivers around us. Rising sea levels caused by climate change could submerge thousands of square miles of low-lying arable land. How can this be stopped?

These are the thorny issues to be debated alongside CPRE and other local groups, including the grassroots civic voice Federation of Cambridge Residents Associations Cambridge (FeCRA), CamFOE, Friends of the River Cam and Cambridge Schools Eco Council.

In a region that is technically a desert, CPRE is spearheading efforts to protect the natural water supplies through its Great Fenland Basin Project. The area includes the Nene, the Great Ouse and the Cam and is also at risk from flooding, as sea levels are projected to rise possibly by up to 4.7 meters in our grandchildren’s lifetime.

The linked issues around protecting our drinking water supplies and preventing arable land from sinking under the sea, plus flood risk from over development, is thrown into even sharper relief by the new Greater Cambridge Local Plan.

CPRE has long been focused on water quality and its connections to the climate emergency and economic growth. CPRE asks whether our communities should be forced to host large developments to meet national planning targets that further add to flood risk and water shortages. A survey carried out as part of the Greater Cambridge Local Plan has even recommended ‘minimal growth’ to protect the future water environment.

In terms of water supply and rainfall, East Anglia is the driest region in Britain, with water demand exceeding supply and an extra 1,014 million litres of water needed to flow through taps by 2050.

CPRE’s Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Chairman Alan James is concerned: "the chalk streams feeding the Cam are drying up due to over-abstraction. Parts of East Cambs are now supplied from Rutland Water. We must take water management more seriously and treat water as a precious resource, not a throwaway commodity."

Added to this is the potential loss of agricultural land in the Great Fenland Basin, which is projected to be below annual flood level by 2050.

In an area that produces around a quarter of the UK’s food supply, the CPRE believes the combined risks of water shortages, building development and floods mean the region is facing a perfect storm of environmental challenges.

Join us in the on line debate on 8 December to explore what we can do together to protect our rivers, water and food supplies. Tickets here:

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