SCDC Approves Parish Joining

November 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Top, Uncategorized, Village News

The South Cambridgeshire Sistrict Council RESOLVED:

(a)               the making of a Grouping Order to group the Parish Councils of Histon and Impington; and

(b)               to delegate to the Chairman of the Electoral Arrangements Committee, in consultation with officers and the two parish councils, to finalise the wording of the Grouping Order.


Text of the draft order is at:

Electoral Arrangements Committee RECOMMENDS Grouping of Parish Councils

November 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Top, Village News

In a decision yesterday, the Electoral Arrangements Committee RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL the making of a Grouping Order that would join the Parish Councils of Histon and Impington. It now goes to the full South Cambs District Council to approve the recommendations and make the order. This is likely to occur within the next few weeks.

The complete text of the announcement is as follows:


Set out below is a summary of the decisions taken at the Electoral Arrangements Committee
held on Monday, 21 November 2011. Decisions made by the Portfolio Holder will be subject
to call-in. Recommendations made to the Cabinet or to the Council are not subject to call-in.
The wording used does not necessarily reflect the actual wording that will appear in the
minutes. If you have any queries about any matters referred to in this decision sheet please contact
Philly Sewell.

The Electoral Arrangements Committee AGREED that a response from the authority be
submitted to the Commission in support of the proposals.

Other Options Considered:

(a) That no authority response is submitted to the Commission

(b) That a response from the authority is submitted to the Commission in support of
the proposals

(c) That a response from the authority be submitted to the Commission objecting to
the proposals. An objection should include a counter proposal.

Reason For Decision:

The Electoral Arrangements Committee will need to review the guidance issued by the Boundary Commission regarding submission of consultation responses. It is clear from the documentation that an objection with a counter proposal will carry more weight than a standalone objection.

The Electoral Arrangements Committee RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL the making of
a Grouping Order.

Other Options Considered:

(a) To recommend the making of a Grouping Order (as requested) in the terms of
the Draft Order attached to this report as Appendix B, or

(b) To recommend the making of a Grouping Order in the terms of the Draft Order
annexed subject to such amendments as the Committee recommends, or

(c) To direct that a full Community Governance Review under the Local Government
and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 be undertaken, to set the remit for
such review including the possible reduction of Councillors from 26 to 19 and to
defer any decision pending the outcome of that Review, or (d) To recommend
that no order is made thus retaining the status quo i.e. two parishes served by
two parish councils.

Reason For Decision:

The Council has a duty to ensure that any order it makes
reflects the identities and interests of the local community in the area and that it is
effective and convenient.

August 7th – Guided Busway OPENS !!!

June 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Top, Village News

Here is the latest update from county council received a few minutes ago:

Cambridgeshire Guided Busway update - 9 June 2011

The Council has announcing today that The Busway will officially open on
Sunday 7 August. 

Bus operators Stagecoach and Whippet Coaches are registering their new
timetables with the Traffic Commissioner, responsible for the
registration of local bus services. 

Timetables, stops and routes for the different services will be
published on the County Council website
( when available. This information
will also be sent to you by email. 

Residents will benefit from fast, reliable services connecting the
popular market towns of Huntingdon and St Ives to Cambridge. The Busway
will provide a genuinely fast alternative to the frustration of queuing
in the A14, taking residents to the key places in the city, such as the
Science Park, Cambridge Rail Station and Addenbrooke's Hospital. 

Busway services will run seven days a week, and from Monday to Saturday
7am to 7pm there will be buses running between St Ives and Cambridge at
least every 10 minutes. Services to Huntingdon will be every 20 minutes
with the final buses running beyond midnight.

The Busway will be the longest track of its kind in the world and
includes two new Park & Ride sites at St Ives and Longstanton for
hundreds of cars. The shorter southern section connecting Cambridge
Railway Station, Addenbrooke's Hospital and Trumpington Park & Ride will
offer a traffic free link.

It is anticipated around 3.5 million trips will be taken on The Busway
each year. The dedicated track for guided buses will mean passengers
will be able to travel by public transport between St Ives Park & Ride
and the Science Park in Cambridge in just 20 minutes.

Cambridge Gateway - a project to improve bus, cycle and pedestrian
access into Cambridge railway station - was completed earlier this year,
and the new link to Hills Road will also open on 7 August to tie in with
the start of Busway services.

The route will open on a Sunday to help get the service up and running
before commuters begin using the route and further information on the
services for the first day will be publicised in the coming weeks.

Surfacing of the cycleway next to the track between Swavesey and
Cambridge will also be completed before the route opens. This means
walkers, cyclists and horse riders will also be able to begin
benefitting from the high quality, safe and car-free route from 7

Final driver training will be completed in the weeks before the route

As always, if you have any further questions at any time please contact
the Council's Busway Team - or 01223

Kate and Wills Street Parties!

May 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Top, Village News

Celebrating the Royal Wedding in the village!

It was indeed the start of a memorable weekend with a fairy tale Royal Wedding and many street celebrations in the village.  Here are a few photos to show how we welcomed the new Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge. Watch a video at


Photo by Audrie Reed

Photo by Audrie Reed

Photo by Audrie Reed

Photo by Audrie Reed

Photo by Audrie Reed

Photo by Audrie Reed

Photo by Audrie Reed

Photo by Audrie ReedPhoto by Audrie Reed

Photo by Audrie Reed

Photo by Audrie Reed

Photo by Audrie Reed

Photo by Audrie Reed

Photo by Audrie Reed

Photo by Audrie Reed

Photo by Audrie Reed

Photo by Audrie ReedPhoto by Audrie Reed

Impington - Photo by Keith Biggs

Impington - Photo by Keith Biggs


Photo by Audrie Reed

Photo by Audrie Reed


Photo by Audrie Reed

Photo by Audrie Reed

Look for more photos in our next print edition!
Photo by Audrie Reed

Photo by Audrie Reed


FREE Solar Electricty for EVERY Village Home?

October 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Features, Top

Rent-a-roof solar

Free electricity? An 8% return on your investment indexed to inflation? Guaranteed for 25 years? It sounds like a scam but it’s not. It is true. And it is both ethical and environmentally friendly.

Since March, HI Courier’s editor has been watching this new development in the UK and investigating the possibilities for our village. “Look around you. There are thousands of roofs in our village that are perfectly suited to install solar panels. If every roof of every home was generating electricity it would be worth about £3 million per year of extra income and it would reduce our village carbon dioxide emissions by over 4000 tonnes CO2.”

Are the claims of free electricity and a healthy return on your investment indexed to inflation and guaranteed for 25 years true? Yes, indeed. You need to be careful, however, since getting the details right will largely affect the benefits you receive.

Here are the basics.  In April 2010, the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) became law to encourage the switch from fossil fuelled to renewable electricity. Electric companies, as part of their obligation to reduce CO2 emissions, are required to pay anyone generating power from renewable sources a premium for every kilowatt hour (or ‘unit’) of electricity they generate. The first part of this programme involves the placement of solar photovoltaic (PV) panel on your roof to convert sunlight directly into standard household electricity. You are paid 41p for each unit of electricity you generate – even if you use all of that electricity yourself!  If you can’t use it then any excess generated by your solar panels it will be automatically exported to the electricity grid and you will be paid an additional 3p per unit for doing so – bringing the total to 44p. If you do use it all yourself, you still get the 44p per unit and save an average of 14p per unit on the electricity you didn’t have to buy from the power company – meaning that each unit of electricity you generate has a value of over 58p.

Two questions immediately come to mind:

1. Is it legal?  The answer to the first is yes – it’s the Law. The payments you receive come from monies collected by electric generating companies. Once you enter the programme, your return is guaranteed by law for 25 years.  It cannot be changed or altered by the actions of future governments.  We’re told that many investment funds, especially pension funds, are having a serious look at this.
2. How much does it cost?  The answer is All or Nothing. To get the maximum benefit you need to invest between £12,500-£14,000 for the typical semi-detached house to install solar panels and connect it to your home electricity supply.  The monetary return over 25 years is about 8%, or approximately £1,000 gross income per annum.

Investing such a large amount is out of the question for most people in these hard economic times.  So for many of us the ‘NOTHING’ option may be better.  This involved renting your roof to a company who will install and maintain solar panels at no cost to you.  They get to keep the FiT which pays for their capital outlay, upkeep and insurance while providing a reasonable return for their investors.  You get to use the electricity those panels generate for FREE.  That’s typically worth between £250 and £500 per year depending on the size of your roof and how much you are able to use during daytime hours when the sun is shining.  With most plans you are also paid for any electricity exported to the electricity grid; although this is a relatively small amount of money (about 3p per unit) it is money for free.

If it still sounds too good to be true, you may be comforted by the fact that a lot of large players, like British Gas, are entering the fray. But there is a catch. This programme is due for review in 2013, so the maximum benefits are only guaranteed if you sign up and install your solar panels before the end of 2012. If you were to enter the programme in December 2012 your FiT payment levels will be guaranteed until December 2037. Given the huge demand this programme has generated already, it makes sense to begin your own investigation as soon as possible to see if this is right for you.

It should be noted that some companies and organisations that either install bespoke solar electric systems, or have close ties to those who do are less that happy with the competition offered by the rent-your-roof alternatives. From our research, the caveats they raise are not issues at all.

As with most opportunities, the devil may be hidden in the details.  That’s why several villagers have come together to form an ad hoc energy co-op under the watchful eye of the HI Courier’s editor.  They will be tasked with digging deeply into the details to get the best deal for village residents. As with any co-op the best deals come with larger volumes. For example, if there are 100 residents interested in purchasing systems or renting their roofs, we are likely to get a better deal that a single homeowner going on their own.  The programme is also available to businesses, schools, local government and others. These stand to gain the most since they use large amounts of electricity during the daytime hours when the sun is shining. 

To register your interest (no obligation), please email solarpanels @ giving your contact details.

Cllr Mike Mason: “The Guided Bus is a Disaster”

June 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Features, Top, Village News

Mike Mason sent this article to the Courier which we are republishing with the permission of the original publishers. There is much that has not been generally known. Cllr Mason, as most know, has represented the village parish councils and in an expert on the Guided Busway project.

Your comments are most welcome.

Rec Fun Day Combined Church Service & Picnic

June 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Top, Village News

Sunday 13 June at 11 am.  Join us for a open air service at Histon & Impington Receeation Ground to give thanks for & celebrate the new play area! Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy afterwards! Then, stay all day for the other activities

- Histon & Impington Council Of Churches

‘FUN DAY’ this SUNDAY – Don’t miss it!

June 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Top, Village News

Click for image larger version

Click for image larger version

Don’t miss it … this Sunday 13 June starting at 11 am:  The 2010 Rec FUN DAY and the Official Opening of the New Playarea.  [ For email subscribers: Check the HI Courier website for a complete programme listing of activities.]  There will be plenty of sports activities:  archery, tennis, tri-golf, croquet, fencing, cricket, and netball.  There will be attractions: Laser tag, Electric go carts, roundabout, colour maze, tug of war, demolition ball, assault course bouncy castle and a cross bar challenge.  There will be a brass band, food and drink all day and even a circus skills workshop.  Plus much more!  And the main event: the official opening of the new play area. 

Be there!  It all starts at 11 am this Sunday.

REPORT: General Election 2010

April 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Top

Prospective Parliamentary Candidates Meet with Villagers TWICE in One Week! 

Over 100 attended the HICCA General Election Question Time

Over 100 attended the HICCA General Election Question Time

28 April 2010: As the General Election campaign goes into overdrive in the last few days one clear fact emerged: our village is a top priority for the prospective parliamentary candidates.  For the second time in 6 days they came en mass to well attended hustings events to convince us that they and their parties are worthy of our votes.

With the dreaded words ‘hung parliament’  hanging over this general election, the lasting impression from both of those events was how much agreement there was among the candidates. There was no antagonism, no overt attempts to ‘point score’ at all costs, but a calm and thoughtful discussion on how to approach different problems facing the constituency and the country.  Many in the audience commented afterwards whether the real problem might not be the party system itself which thrives on endless childlike debating with little common purpose to solve real problems.

The first hustings, put on by St Andrews Church and held at IVC, was attended by over 60 perople.  The second, a ‘Question Time’ event, held last night at IVC and attended by over 100 villagers, was organised by HICCA (Histon Impington Climate Change Action group) and focused mainly on environmental issues. According to the candidates these two events were high on their favourite list winning high marks for the content of the questions and the organisation of the event itself.

Present at HICCA’s Question Time were: Simon Sedgwick-Jell (Green Party), Jonathon Chatfield (Liberal Democrats), Jim Paice (Conservative Party), Andy Monk (UKIP) and  Geoffrey Wollard  (Independent). Daniel Bell (Independent/Christian Party Alliance) and John Cowen (Labour Party) were also invited to attend. Bell sent apologies due to a conflict in scheduling and John Cowen did not attend due, possibly, to a dispute about his status in the Labour Party. Both were present at the St. Andrew’s hustings on the 21st along with Jim Paice and Jonathon Chatfield.

Not surprisingly, Impington resident Jonathon Chatfield (Lib Dems) was a favourite with the audience. He stood out from the start with answers that were designed to reveal more about himself as a person rather than just repeat the party line.

Steve Waters, noted playwright and chair of HICCA, moderated the Question Time. He explained that questions were divided into four categories: Transport, Energy, Development and Climate Change, Questions had been submittted in advance and by the audience at the event itself.  None of the candidates saw the questions ahead of the eventy. Each was given a up to 2 minutes to answer a question.  The honour of asking the first question from the audience was given to 10 year old Miro Hovius who asked: How can we get people to care more about the climate?  Miro is a student at the Histon and Impington Junior School and a memebr of theClimate Rescue Club, a lunchtime group that meets regularly to learn mre about climate change and what can be done to avoid a warmer world.

Key Points from the Question Time:

The candidates were asked to introduce themselves and tell the audience where they would like to see their constituency in 20 years time.  Not surprisingly the answers concentrated on development, housing and transportation:

Simon Sedgwick-Jell (Greens): It’s bonkers to concentrate all the development in Cambridge. People work in Cambridge but have to commute because they cannot afford the housing. He reminded us that the East of England is the most vulnerable part of the UK to climate change – whether from flooding or excess heat.

Andy Monk (UKIP): There’s has been lots of unplanned development in the region including destroying greenbelt. We need to stop building thousands of new houses as gov’t dictates. We need affordable housing for all, but on a much reduced scale decided by local needs.

Jim Paice (Conservatives): It’s not too far ahead given that Cambridge’s success has largely come about over the past 20 to 30 years. We need to stop top down planning for the region. Housing needs to be decided by local council.  The public transport issue needs addressing.  Then to much laughter he said: “By then both the guided busway and the A14 upgrade should be working!” We need to value the local landscape and our agricultural land, preserving this from development especially with the future increase in food requirements.

Jonathon Chatfield (LibDems): We need to be developing local communities with all the facilities they need – shops, pubs, schools, etc. and not just housing estates. For transport we need to be developing the use of cycle, bus and high speed rail.

Geoffrey Wollard (Independent): We cannot continue as we are. I’ve been a member of County Council since 1974 and such councils make mistakes which has led to the current state we are in locally. It’s a bad idea to divert development plans to local authorities. It’s wrong to concentrate development in certain areas only. We need to develop starter homes not starter hutches.

The first question from the audience was posed by 10 year old Miro Hovius, student at the Histon Impington Junior School.  He asked: “How would you convince people to care more about the climate.” ( Editor’s Note: Miro spent time in Northeastern Greenland in 2008 with his family. They went to look at the record and impact of climate change on time scales ranging from hundreds of millions of years to human time.  The book ‘Journey into the Ice Age’ about this expedition was published in Norway in September 2009 and is being prepared for publication here.)Geoffrey Wollard (Independent): Human activity does affect climate. Population is a big problem. We need to work out how we can feed the expanding world population with finite resources.

Jonathon Chatfield (LibDems): People are waking up to environmental issues. We should listen to young people who are engaged, passionate and well aware of the problem.

Jim Paice (Conservatives): I agree with the other two comments. To engage the public to accept that it is necessary to change we need to do it in such a way that people want to change. You can have a nice car; it doesn’t need to be fuelled by oil. You can have a nice house without reliance on fossil fuels through the use of insulation. You can have change without too much suffering.

Andy Monk (UKIP): I also agree. People need to be encouraged to buy local food in season – it tastes better, reduces food miles and supports local businesses.  We need to have proper affordable electric cars for all.

Simon Sedgwick-Jell(Greens): I can’t disagree with anything that has been said so far, however, I don’t believe the parties will deliver on what has been said.  We need to convince people that greater affluence does not equal greater happiness.  The current message that having more things makes you happier needs to be undermined.

To save time, several questions where then asked under a particular topic heading and candidates asked to choose which to answer.  The first topic was Transport. The questions: The future of the A14? How did they travel to IVC this evening? How and when will you prioritise cycling over other forms of transport?

Jim Paice (Conservatives): I arrived in a car but there were 4 of us in it. We need to improve the A14 as soon as possible but it’s going to be 2-3 years before work starts. It is essential to upgrade it even though we need other forms of transport. If we doubled the freight carried on rail we would only decrease road traffic by one year’s growth.  Cycle ways are important but they are the responsibility of the county councils.

Andy Monk (UKIP): I came in a car with one other person. The A14 needs improvement but we also need to increase high speed rail to move transport off the roads. The guided busway will help … eventually. (laughter) UKIP would veto the EU’s plan to introduce super lories to our roads. Cycle ways are very important but we need a balance between the needs of all road users including pedestrians.

Simon Sedgwick-Jell (Greens): I came by bus because my bike lights are dodgy and I couldn’t cycle home in the dark. I’m sure the press would have a field day with that if I had. The bus service is not fit for purpose. Last night I had to leave the hustings early to get the last bus or I would have been marooned.  Cyclists are treated as second class citizens for example look at the way cycle ways disappear at junctions like roundabouts where they are most needed for safety. The cost of the A14 upgrade is huge and traffic will just expand to match the increase in capacity.  It would be much better to invest this amount of money elsewhere.

Jonathon Chatfield (LibDems): I got here by walking since I only live a few minutes from IVC. The Lib Dems support a smaller, cheaper and quicker scheme for the A14 aimed at improving safety, for example, at junctions – not for increasing capacity. We need to move freight traffic to rail. I think there should be a pricing structure to decrease road where transport alternatives exist, but obviously not in areas where there is no alternative to car use. Off-road cycle ways are very important.  I’m a keen cyclist myself. We also need to improve road structures and speed limits to make cycling safer on the roads.

Geoffrey Wollard (Independent): I came in a car with my wife of 48 years, but no other women. (laughter and applause). The A14 needs improvement. The use of rail is not feasible in some areas. Cycle ways make more sense in Histon and Impington which is close enough for people to use for journeys into Cambridge.

A follow up question from the floor by a man who is a member of the ‘Speaking Up’ youth parliament: Would the Parties extend the use of bus passes to include disabled workers of working age during peak hour to allow travel to and from work?  There was agreement by the panel that the idea had merit even though none of the parties had a policy covering that.  Simon Sedgwick-Jell said he would not stop at bus passes for disabled and that we can learn from schemes in other parts of the world. For example, in Denver they put up sales tax by one-half percent and made buses free during off peak times and very cheap the rest of the time. Everyone thought putting bike racks on buses would be useful. Jim Paice said that contrary to rumour, the Conservatives would commit to keeping the free bus pass system.

Energy Questions: Would you change the feed in tariff to include the early pioneers who installed renewable energy systems before July last year? What is your party’s target for the use of biofuels? Which biofuels would you approve? To meet our renewable power needs the UK will need either expanded nuclear power or massive wind farm. Which do you support?

Geoffrey Wollard (Independent): The increased use of biofuels means increased deforestation and increased growth of crops – not for food but for fuel. What we need to do is to economise on fuel use not expect biofuels to support the current levels of consumption. We need to increase both nuclear and wind farms – controversial but necessary – but not necessarily massive wind farms.  For example, I would happily cope with three or four wind turbines in my parish.

Jonathon Chatfield (LibDems): I have a problem with the sound bites nature of this format. There is much detail which needs to be discussed. Feed in tariffs need to be set at decent levels for everybody.  It’s necessary to listen to experts in these fields to decide on which type of fuels to use. I am nervous about biofuels and I don’t see them as a major solution. Critical decisions need to be made soon. We need to invest in renewables not old nuclear technology and we need to decrease consumption.

Jim Paice (Conservatives): We can’t rely on wind for all our power. We need to decrease our energy use. I support all renewables but nuclear is also a vital part of our strategy. I used to be very keen on biofuels but have changed my mind because of the problem of deforestation and the diversion of food crops. Energy production needs to be sustainable.  I would make the feed in tariffs equal for everybody except for those early adopters who have received a substantial grant. 

Andy Monk (UKIP): I share the misgivings about biofuels. We need to increase money for research into other alternatives such as hydrogen fuel cells. We should invest in new clean nuclear technology. Wind is not reliable. It only works out because of huge government subsidy, so nuclear is much better. [not true - ed] We do need to make feed in tariffs fair.

Simon Sedgwick-Jell (Greens): Remove, reduce, replace. We need to reduce energy use in both commercial and domestic settings, we could conserve 30% of energy with insulation. Nuclear is mad, expensive and a waste problem. Wind, solar, wave and other energy – we need to use them all. There is no magic bullet solution. Biofuels are destructive.

Questions: Is it feasible to make all new houses built from 2016 zero carbon as is gov’t policy?  Are other parties and candidates going to succumb to pressure from the airlines and build a third runway at Heathrow? What will you do to encourage the development of efficient electric cars?

Simon Sedgwick-Jell (Greens): With regards zero carbon building we can learn much from Europe. They have much higher standards in Scandanavia. We shouldn’t bow to pressure from the building industry. We need to include standards for rebuilds and renovation because we have an unfit existing housing stock and that situation needs to be addressed. We don’t need any new runways. We need to decrease the subsidies on air travel and put an airmiles tax so that the real cost of air travel is paid.

Andy Monk (UKIP): We have 800,000 empty houses in the UK. We need to get those in use before building more. There is a zero carbon Tesco’s in Ramsey where I live.  It’s not feasible for all homes to be carbon neutral by 2016 and we need to see if the cost to achieve that for new builds is sensible. We would not increase the size of Heathrow but would build a new airport in the Thames estuary.

Jim Paice (Conservatives): We should stick to the 2016 target which is that all homes built from that year need to be carbon neutral. I’m more concerned about the existing housing stock. We will introduce an up front payment of up to £6500 for people to spend increasing the carbon efficiency of their home. It would be paid for over a 25 year period by the savings in their fuel bills.  We oppose a third runway at Heathrow and would block a second runway at Stansted and at Gatwick because we believe that we need to develop high speed rail services. We are also proposing incentives for electricity suppliers to create a network of charging points for electric cars.

Jonathon Chatfield (LibDems): I agree about new builds but we also need to help the existing stock become energy efficient. We will have grants to bring 250,000 houses online for use, no new runway, have a per flight tax not a tax per passenger which will encourage maximum passengers per flight. I agree with electric cars and charging points but we need to develop alternative transport as well.  

Geoffrey Wollard (Independent): The government has got some things right, for example, civil partnerships and no fox or hare hunting. Current building regs are much improved on 1960′s housing and is part ashamed and part proud of recent developments.

CLIMATE CHANGE – The Wider Issue:
Questions: Do you believe in climate change? How will you help community, agencies and residents? Can we afford to mitigate against climate change? How much resource will you be willing to commit? How do you restore confidence after the failure of the Copenhagen talks and the recent events at the University of East Anglia?

Simon Sedgwick-Jell (Greens): There’s been much misinformation from the media especially regarding the University of East Anglia. Equal time has been given to scientific evidence and skeptical views – the equivalent of giving equal time to those who still think the world is flat. Much is being done at local level but this is not helped sufficiently by government. Our taxes are lower today than they were under Margaret Thatcher. We have to accept that we cannot have Scandinavian level services with American level taxes. We cannot rely on jumble sale funding.

Andy Monk (UKIP): We need to have a balanced debate between man made climate change and natural climate change. The jury is out. UKIP would listen to residents and have referenda. We need to look at finances with reservations and examine from both sides. We need to decrease bureaucracy and red tape relating to the environment.

Jim Paice (Conservatives): I have received a lot of mail expressing the opinion that either climate change does not exist or is natural. However, these are all wrong. The vast majority of exerts worldwide believe in climate change and that the majority of it is manmade. To believe otherwise would be stupid. Even if the naysayers are correct, taking the precaution to do something is safer than doing nothing. Therefore we MUST invest. Feed-in tariffs and grants will help people solve their own problems. People respond better to the carrot than to the stick – incentives not penalties.

Jonathon Chatfield (LibDems): Climate change IS happening and man is mostly responsible. It’s significant that a number, I think 20%, of conservative candidates do not believe this. Conservative MEPs have moved position within the EU to join the ultra right wing group of non-believers. I would listen to groups like HICCA and similar.

Geoffrey Wollard (Independent): I think Jonathon is wearing a halo. I’m not convinced that climate change is happening but I believe an increasing population will have an effect on climate. There is no alternative to mitigating climate change, we must do it. Changing rates of taxation can affect behaviour.

Jim Paice (Conservatives): [Responding to Jonathon Chatfield] I’m not sure about the 20% figure. The Conservative Party policy is that climate change is happening and that man is largely responsible. The Conservatives forced a lot of the climate change bill through. It’s possible for Conservative MP’s to have a separate personal view from the party line. Conservative MEPs will vote with the climate change lobby in Europe.  They will introduce green taxes but decrease taxation elsewhere.

Impington Toad Rescue

March 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Top

Anita Joysey, tireless rescuer of 1000's toads!

Anita Joysey, tireless rescuer of 1000's of distressed toads!

It started Friday evening 19 March.  First there were a few. Then the migration began in full. The toads marched out of Impington woodland areas heading for their spawning lakes adjacent to the Holiday Inn.  Halfway along their path stood an unexpected obstacle – the new Guided Busway track – the toad equivalent of the Great Wall of China. Had it not been for Anita Joysey the scene would have been tragic – thousands would have died from dehydration and predator attacks.  

It now appears that Impington is home to an exceptional colony of common toads (Bufo bufo) as defined by the Natural Environment and Rural Community Act 2006. The common toad is a true gardeners friend living on a diet of slugs, and insects. So far, over 3000 have been rescued, checked and counted. Anita Joysey and Dave Seilly found the first wave of migration early Saturday 20 March and rescued 701 toads.  They carefully collected them from the sides of the busway where the exhausted animals had been trying to find a way around the endless track then gently carried them into the lake in large buckets.  Then they spread the word that more were likely to come.  It’s this time of year when toads are on the move from their winter hibernation shelter to spawn in nearby lakes. Like salmon they return to the place of their birth to spawn the next generation. Any stress is dangerous as they have limited energy resources. They will not have eaten from the time the went into hibernation in October until they return from spawning in mid April.

Failure to find a breach in the Busway track means slow death by dehydration, or terrifying death by predator

Failure to find a breach in the Busway track means slow death by dehydration, or terrifying death by predator

Upon hearing the news, Impington parish councillor Pene Nudds sprang into action alerting councillors at District and County level. Last year a far smaller migration left many toads crushed by Busway construction vehicles.  Parish, District and County councillors were determined to avoid a repeat of that incident. Soon help began to show up as Anita and her crew of volunteers collected stranded toads each morning. Dave Haxton, a representative from Atkins, the engineering firm that is acting as project manager for the Busway project, arrived bright and early Monday morning to see what could be done.  Last year a temporary toad fence was erected to prevent additional carnage as toads strayed onto the path of Busway construction traffic.  This needed repair.  Pitfall traps that had been used last year to safely catch and hold toads for short periods needed to be installed. Atkins moved swiftly to assist, sending several staff and ecologists to help Anita with the morning and evening rescue efforts. 

As impossible to climb as the Great Wall of China the busway track completely blocks the path to their spawning lake

As impossible to climb as the Great Wall of China the busway track completely blocks the path to their spawning lake

William Seale from Maddingly Toad Rescue told the HI Courier that this is a Biodiversity Action Plan issue.  The number of common toads, in spite of their name, are dwindling as development and habitat removal increases.  Impington now appears to be a site of significant interest. William has been working for over 20 years to rescue toads and provide safe and stable habitats for them.   

Toads emerge from hibernation on land in late February or early March and complete the migration back to the lake where they started the previous autumn. Once there, mating and egg laying occur over a brief period in March and April. The adult toads then leave the lake and head back to the land needing, once again, to cross the Busway track on the way. They live in the woodland for the remainder of the year, entering hibernation again in late September or early October.

Several permanent toad tunnels will be needed to allow this two way access between the woodland and lake. County council has assured us that they will begin construction when they officially take control of the northern section of the Guided Busway. Tunnels of the sort needed can be built after the fact while the busway is in operation. Until that happens mitigation efforts and daily toad rescues will be needed for the few weeks of back and forth migration that occur in March and late July.

Anita had helpers from the Regional College on the third morning

Anita had helpers from the Regional College on the third morning

What could have been a disaster has been avoided by the cooperation at all levels – parish, district, and county councils, Atkins, and most of all by Anita Joysey and her volunteers.  Our hats off and a ‘well done’ to all.  The HI Courier will be watching and reporting as this story develops.

Toads were checked for dehydration and sunburned skin before releasing into their spawning lake

Toads were checked and counted before releasing into their spawning lake

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After rehydration and sensing the end of their ordeal the toads are anxious to get into the water

Sensing the end of their ordeal the toads are anxious to get into the water

Checking one of the pitfall traps where toads are safely caught at night and can be rescued in the morning

Checking one of the pitfall traps where toads are safely caught at night and can be rescued in the morning

Green toad fence built in 2009 is in remarkably good shape after a year of exposure to the elements and construction crews. In theory toads should not get onto the busway traack and should fall into the pitfall traps.  But many still manage to get through somehow. This will be replaced with a permanent barrier by Cambridge County Council when construction of the northern section of the busway is completed.

Green toad fence built in 2009 is in remarkably good shape after a year of exposure to the elements and construction crews. In theory toads should not get onto the busway track and should fall into the pitfall traps. But many still manage to get through somehow. This will be replaced with a permanent barrier by Cambridge County Council when construction of the northern section of the busway is completed.

This is the goal. The lake on the other side of the busway.  The A14 motorway forms one boundry and the busway the other.  This effectively cuts off toad migration during spawning season. Several toad tunnels under the busway are essential for protecting this large colony of common toads.

This is the goal. The lake on the other side of the busway. The A14 motorway forms one boundry and the busway the other. This effectively cuts off toad migration during spawning season. Several toad tunnels under the busway are essential for protecting this large colony of common toads.

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