Anglian Water is planning to build a modern, low carbon waste water treatment plant for Greater Cambridge. The new facility will provide vital services for the community and environment, recycling water and nutrients, producing green energy, helping Greater Cambridge to grow sustainably.

Anglian Water’s vision goes beyond just building a new plant. It isn’t simply about moving an old facility to a new location. We will build a facility to better serve the community and environment for years to come, one where waste water becomes a valuable resource.

The new facility, as well as being operationally net zero carbon, will be energy neutral. It is designed to adapt to changing social and environmental priorities, increasing resilience to storm flows and flooding and provide a long-term solution to how we best treat waste water for a growing Greater Cambridge population.

The relocation will enable South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council’s long held ambition to develop a new low-carbon city district on Cambridge’s last major brownfield site, known as North East Cambridge. The site is an important component of the First Proposals (preferred options) for the new Greater Cambridge Local Plan that were subject to public consultation late last year. The North East Cambridge Area Action Plan has also recently been agreed by the Councils in its Proposed Submission form and will be subject to public consultation prior to submission, once the Development Consent Order is determined. The relocation of the existing waste water treatment facility will enable this new district to come forward and deliver 8,350 homes, 15,000 new jobs and a wide range of community, cultural and open space facilities in North East Cambridge.

The scale of the essential infrastructure needed to ensure the long-term resilience of waste water treatment capacity in Greater Cambridge inevitably means impacts will be felt. We recognise and are sensitive to the community’s concerns and questions about this.

We are committed to continuing to listen carefully and as part of this consultation, we want to hear your views on the mitigation measures we are proposing to avoid or reduce potential impacts, together with presenting how we have developed our proposals further taking on board the feedback we received during our second phase of consultation.

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Our proposals

Last year, during our phase two consultation, we shared our early design principles and emerging design for the relocation project.

As part of this final phase of consultation, we want to hear your views on our detailed design proposals for the new facility and surrounding site area, proposed mitigation measures to minimise impacts on local communities, and the opportunities identified for environmental enhancement beyond the site boundary.

Building a modern, low carbon waste water treatment facility

The design of the facility will contribute to Anglian Water’s goal to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030 by reducing energy consumption and contributing towards the circular economy. The new facility will significantly reduce carbon emissions compared to the existing Cambridge facility and will be operationally net zero and energy neutral.

We will also target a 70 per cent reduction in “capital” or “embedded” carbon during the construction phase compared to a 2010 baseline by adopting sustainable construction techniques. Read more in our Carbon Paper.

Helping Cambridge to grow sustainably

The relocation provides an opportunity to develop a modern, forward-looking water recycling facility, using the latest technology and operational practices. This means we can continue to serve the growing population of Greater Cambridge for years to come, in a more sustainable and resilient way.

Maximising public value and supporting the circular economy

The efficient and effective recycling and re-use of waste water, is core to public health and the circular economy. The design of the facility further supports a circular economy by:

  • more effectively recycling nutrients, in the form of phosphorous and ammonia, found in waste
    water,
  • treating the biosolids captured as part of the wastewater treatment process, creating an
    enhanced soil conditioner for use by local agriculture,
  • generating biogas which, when processed and exported into the local gas network, will be
    used to heat the homes of the local community as a renewable fuel source

Improving storm resilience and the quality of the recycled water we return to the River Cam

Storm overflows play a vital role in our combined waste water network systems as they work like pressure release valves to protect homes and businesses from flooding during periods of extreme rainfall. The Environment Agency (EA) issues permits for our storm overflows.

The new facility will provide greater resilience and improved storm management, meaning storm overflows and Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) are far less likely to occur. This means that, as Greater Cambridge continues to grow, the facility will be able to treat a greater volume of storm flows to a higher standard than would be the case at today’s facility.

The new facility is being designed to reduce concentration in final treated effluent discharges of phosphorus, ammonia, total suspended solids and biological oxygen demand (BOD), compared to the existing Cambridge facility. This means that when the new facility starts to operate, water quality in the River Cam will improve.

You can find out more in our Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR),