MESSAGE TO ALL PARTNER MEMBERS
The Trust has welcomed new partner members in the last month and I can report that we are now very representative of local councils and national and local groups, and all those who love our wonderful landscape. We can also now welcome individual supporters and more information on how to get involved can be found here.
Strategic plan now available.
A lot of work has gone into our Strategic Plan and this was discussed at our first open meeting for all our partner members held on Zoom in June. The final version has been published and can be found here. It is an ambitious plan and will of course be monitored regularly to check progress.
A victory for common sense.
After a very intense campaign by the Trust the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) has scrapped its plans for an elevated dual carriageway road across one of the most beautiful landscapes in the East of England (see Media). We need to celebrate all the hard work of our partner members and many individuals who have helped us achieve this great result. It has involved meetings with the Combined Authority, attendance at Board meetings, radio interviews, letter writing and lobbying at every opportunity. Since its inception the Trust has sought to ensure that we are not viewed simply as a NIMBY organisation. We are pleased that we have demonstrated the value of our landscape not just for local biodiversity, physical and mental health and climate change, but also for the economic success of the whole of Cambridgeshire. We want to help attract both tourists and the brightest and best to come and live in work in our county, which has less ‘natural’ landscape than any other rural county in the UK.
After this success we now have more time to move onto all the other important work identified in our Strategic Plan to ‘promote, protect and enhance the Great Ouse Valley.’
Our website has been well received. Please check out our new Sights and Sounds section and send us your contributions to help us demonstrate the fantastic variety of life in the Valley. We are looking to extend and improve our social media presence and are actively seeking expertise and advice in this area. If you think you can help and advise please be in touch.
Photograph by Keith Knight
A Green Woodpecker reflected in the sunset – a new entry in Sights and Sounds.
Other important projects
We continue to work with the County Council to improve and update the Ouse Valley Way long- distance footpath. Parishes will shortly be contacted to agree dates when contractors, assisted by volunteers, will install new way-marking posts. Detailed negotiations to re-route the footpath along the river bank to avoid Meadow Lane in St Ives are now advanced. Bridge repairs and new interpretation boards are also planned.
The large project to enhance landscape and biodiversity across the Commons between Huntingdon, Godmanchester and the Hemingfords, in response to the Woodland Trust initiative to ‘’cool the rivers’, progresses well. Our partners are the Godmanchester Freemen, Huntingdonshire District Council and the farmers, and we have received great support from the Environment Agency and Natural England. Following trial plantings last winter (see Media) we are hopeful that work can re-commence this coming winter.
There are many other initiatives underway in all parts of the valley from St Neots up to Earith and the Washes. All projects are inevitably affected by the pandemic. The availability of grants in the future remains a matter of concern but we are grateful for a donation of £333 from the Waitrose Community Matters scheme last month.
The Trust has the opportunity to build on what we have achieved in the last 18 months and work towards a major Landscape Partnership project for the whole Great Ouse Valley in the near future.
The scrapping of the Third River Crossing has shown what we can achieve if we all to work together. There are exciting times ahead.
Graham Campbell, July 2020