Flood Groups Conference – Thursday 21st September 2023

The Community Flood Team is holding the Flood Group Conference on Thursday 21st September 2023 at Burgess Hall in St Ives One Leisure, Westwood Rd, St Ives, St. Ives PE27 6WU. Following on from a successful launch last year and the great feedback received, they are extending this conference to also cover any communities in the River Great Ouse catchment which includes parts of Buckinghamshire, Central Bedfordshire, West Northamptonshire, Bedford Borough, Milton Keynes and Norfolk.

Organised by the Community Flood Action Programme team (part of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Flood Risk team), the conference is open to community flood groups and any residents with an interest in learning more about flood resilience or setting up their own flood group.

The plan for the day is to have 3 presentations in the morning, have a long break for lunch for people to network, have a look around the Floodmobile and then have 2 workshops that would run in parallel. Here is the link to register: Flood Groups Conference 2023 Tickets, Thu 21 Sep 2023 at 10:15 | Eventbrite

Please view their promotional video to give you an idea of their previous conference : Cambridgeshire Flood Groups Conference 2022: Highlights – YouTube

For any additional information please contact the Flood Risk team at CFAP@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Photography Competition 2023 – New Life in the Old West

Calling photographers – Enter our competition today!

We love the Old West River and the wonderful countryside and villages along its banks. We want as many people as possible to experience its beauty and the amazing wildlife that call this area their home.

A great way to appreciate the natural beauty around is to take photographs. We have launched a photography competition to encourage you to share your experiences with wildlife and out and about in the Cambridgeshire fens with us.
To enter is simple. Visit the New Life on the Old West project area, take photographs of our local fauna and flora, then share the best ones with us. Thanks to the RSPB, there are small prizes for the best in each category (under 18s and over 18s) and you may just spot your photograph online or in
print. The winner of each category will win RSPB gift membership (for 1 or 2 adults, or family membership).
Our competition is open to everyone – just make sure that the images are taken within the NLOW geographical area, which includes RSPB Ouse Fen and National Trust Wicken Fen.

The closing date is 31st August 2023 so you have lots of time over the spring and summer to get snapping. Remember to follow the Countryside Code whilst you are out and about and only take photographs and happy
memories away with you. Full terms and conditions and further entry instructions about how to name your image files are
here. Please note all of the submission instructions and if you’re under 18, ensure you have your parent’s permission to enter.
We are really excited to see what you produce and thank you for taking part!

Free community climate action course, Net Zero Now! Applications will close at the end of this week on 30th April.

The course is run by Cambridge Carbon Footprint – go to their website to apply: www.cambridgecarbonfootprint.org

Who is the programme for?

This course is relevant to Parish Councillors and residents who are interested in supporting their community’s move to net zero but who are either unsure where to start or feel that they would benefit from gaining additional tools or confidence to increase the impact of their activities.

Why has the course been created?

The course is being run by local charity Cambridge Carbon Footprint with support from the South Cambridgeshire District Council Zero Carbon Communities Fund. We have developed this course as nearly two thirds of the changes needed to reach net zero by 2050 will require changes to the way we live our lives. We’ll need to reduce energy use, change the way we travel, what we eat, how much we buy and how we dispose of things. With the policies and actions currently in place still taking more time than we have, it’s important that we all do what we can to move closer towards net zero.

This means that, alongside calling for the UK Government to implement top-down policies to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint and support these changes, we have a fantastic opportunity to create communities that are not only sustainable, but healthier, happier, and more resilient.

So, if you would like to see this where you live, could Net Zero Now help you on your way?

What have previous participants achieved?

As a result of attending the course, previous participants have supported their parish councils to declare climate emergencies and create climate action plans, improved biodiversity through planting wildflowers and trees, and connected with surrounding towns and villages to share resources and expertise.

What does the course consist of? This is an exciting opportunity to be part of the move to net zero where you live. The programme consists of six weekly workshops between 7 June and 12 July, a mix of online and in-person, bringing you together with other communities and individuals in the area to support and learn from each other to deliver effective carbon reduction activities, events and communications. The programme will cover topics such as choosing an action, community engagement, influencing and communicating. You will be supported to create an action plan and leave the course ready to take the next steps. So whether you would like to set up a regular clothes swap or repair café, run an eco-fair or set up a community energy scheme, Net Zero Now is here to support you to take action where you live

Action on Energy


Action on Energy is a partnership between Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council.

It provides residents with advice on how to maximise the energy efficiency of their homes, save money on their energy bills and cut their carbon emissions. Its authoritative advice includes information on the energy efficiency measures available, practical guidance, funding opportunities and support to find an installer.

Much useful information is already available on the website, and a new version will shortly be launched which will explain the full advice and support offer.

Residents – Hedges next to the highway/footpaths

We have been asked by Highways to remind residents with hedges adjoining the footpaths to please cut them back before nesting season begins in March. When cutting them back please remember to allow for new growth over the summer to prevent the footpaths being obstructed over the summer.

If you are cutting during the nesting season (March to end of August) please check for nests and only use hand tools.

Thank you for your assistance.

Energy saving advice for your home

Energy saving advice for your home

LEAP (Local Energy Advice Partnership) is a FREE service that is helping people keep warm and reduce their energy bills without costing them any money, via telephone calls or home visits. It is free for those who really need it.

Free phone: 0800 060 7567

Email: support@applyforleap.org.uk

Online application: applyforleap.org.uk

How they can help:

  • Free energy saving measures such as LED light bulbs, energy saving plugs, draught proofing and lots more!
  • Income maximisation call for debt advice and benefits check
  • Support with supplier issues
  • Referrals for funding for Cavity Wall and Loft Insulation
  • Referrals for funded First Time Central Heating
  • Referrals into ECO
  • Referrals for Heart broken white good replacement

Green Energy Switch delivers the scheme for Peterborough, Rutland, Fenland and South Cambridgeshire in partnership with Local Authorities, Housing Associations and other organisations such as Age UK and the DWP. It is funded by energy suppliers as part of the Warm Home Discount fund.

Willingham’s Carbon Footprint

At all levels of government there is much discussion about climate change and in particular about reduction in the emissions of greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide, often shortened to carbon, is the most well-known greenhouse gas and largest contributor to climate change, but other greenhouse gases are nitrous oxide, methane and ozone, and these are often included under the term ‘carbon’.

The first step in any reduction is measuring exactly which activities produce carbon and how much, known as a carbon footprint, and a tool has recently been produced by the Centre for Sustainable Energy, together with Exeter University, that shows the carbon footprint at parish level. It can be found at https://impact-tool.org.uk/

The site consists of pie-charts showing two ways of measuring the footprint: (i) territorial – carbon that is produced directly from within our parish (e.g., industrial, commercial, domestic, agriculture, transport), or (ii) consumption – including all emissions from our consumption of manufactured goods, food, and transport activity, etc., regardless of where the emissions occur. Territorial is in general compiled by taking national data and cutting it down, while consumption is largely based on household and address-level data. In addition to the charts, the actual data can also be downloaded. It is hoped for the future that funding can be secured to allow the information to be updated.

There is also the option to compare our footprint with other parishes, or district or national averages. The website contains much useful background information regarding the data sources used, assumptions, and methodology for arriving at the numbers.

Though this is ‘broad-brush’ information, being non-interactive and only covering main impact areas, it is a useful starting point to look at ways of reducing the Willingham carbon footprint. While there are many measures being discussed at International, Central Government, County and District level, such as the SCDC Zero Carbon Communities initiative, there is much that we as a parish and as individuals can do. According to the UK Committee on Climate Change 2019 report, 62% of carbon savings we need to make now will need behavioural change to drive them, in whole or in part. Small changes in behaviour add up. As consumers we can create a demand for low or zero carbon alternatives that will send a signal to the market and companies will respond. And just reducing waste will have an effect.

The ‘Using the tool’ document on the website is particularly useful regarding next steps, and has a list of resources. We as a Parish Council will be looking at ways of reducing our own footprint (we have already secured a grant for changing the heating in the Ploughman Hall to a low-energy system, installed LEDs and use a green energy provider), and would like to encourage individual residents and families to do the same. There are many tools available to measure your footprint at household level such as https://cambridgecarbonfootprint.org/, carbonfootprint.com – Carbon Footprint Calculator and one from the WWF. These are much more detailed than the parish level one described here.

Willingham Action Group has also recently created a Sustainability sub-group which consists of a small number of passionate individuals looking at ways to improve the sustainability of the village.

We hope that this will be a two-way process so please let us know your thoughts on these issues and how we can work together to reduce the Willingham carbon footprint.

More about the Willingham footprint

“So, as the aphorism goes ‘All models are wrong, but some are useful’. We have tried hard to make these ones useful for you, but use them as a guide, not as a gospel.”

Having searched on ‘Willingham’ the charts show either a total for the parish or per household. Each category can be split into subcategories. Clicking on each segment gives brief info on what it is and how calculated.

Consumption – The largest sector is consumption of goods and services – 33% (18% purchase, 8% use of services, 7% other), followed by travel 26% (14% private transport, 9% flights, 3% public transport), food and diet 21% (11% meat and fish, 10% other), housing 19% (energy in homes – 13% gas, 5% electric, <1% oil), waste 1%

Territorial – Now housing (energy in homes) is the largest (40%), followed by 20% agriculture (14% livestock & crop-related, 4% fuel), 17% road transport, 14% aviation and 6% shipping (not helpful these are just national figure divided by population – ‘included to provide context’). Industrial and commercial are shown as zero which is not quite correct?

The differences between the two approaches are very clearly shown by a comparison with Swavesey – consumption is almost the same per household, but territorial is very different – Swavesey has a much larger road transport and industrial and commercial footprints, the former presumably due to the A14 about which they can do nothing.

Future Actions

Potential future actions include:

  • Solar panels
  • Grants to local organisations who are reducing carbon (green projects)
  • Survey PC land and develop a 5-year plan to improve biodiversity and ecology by growing wildflowers etc, adding to work already done in the Orchard and Meadow Road
  • Community workshops to learn about green spaces and how to protect them
  • A water fountain at the pavilion to remove single use plastic bottles
  • Aim to go ‘single use plastic free’ as a Council and create a hirer’s charter reflecting this.
  • Publicise what we are doing on our website

Other Actions

Ploughman Hall Heating: The Council is continuing to seek funding to improve the heating in the Ploughman Hall so that it is much more efficient.

Planning: The planning committee takes the environmental aspects of new planning applications very seriously, within the constraints imposed by SCDC.

Recent Actions:

Though WPC has limited powers it can make a difference. The following are examples of recent actions:

Tree planting

Meadow Road site: Fifty oak trees have been planted to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day and poppy seeds sown.  It is hoped that additional Silver Birch trees will also be planted on the site.

Community Orchard: WPC liaised closely with and supported the Willingham Action Group (WAG) in establishing the community orchard in 2015, planting more than 850 trees.


Street Lighting: The Council has taken over the provision and payment of electricity for the streetlights SCDC is responsible for in the village (the majority are under the remit of CCC).  The supplier that the Council has chosen is a provider of renewable energy.  It is also anticipated that over the next two years the lights will be changed to LED.

Lights in the Ploughman Hall: The Council has had the hall lights converted to LED.

Floodlights on the Rec: These have also been converted to LED.