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Decision details

Consultation response to the Draft Regional Water Resources Plan for Eastern England

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Planning, Building Control, and Infrastructure

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


To agree the Council’s responses to Water Resources East’s Regional Water Plan, and Cambridge Water’s Water Resources Management Plan.


Matter for Decision

The report referred to a joint consultation response with South Cambridgeshire District Council to Water Resources East (WRE) who were consulting upon their first full draft Regional Water Resources Plan.


Decision of the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Infrastructure

      i.         Agreed the consultation response to be sent jointly with South Cambridgeshire District Council set out in Appendix 1 of the Officer’s report and that this should be sent to Water Resources East.

    ii.         Agreed that any subsequent material amendments be agreed by the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Infrastructure (in consultation with respective Chairs and Spokes).


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.


Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Principal Planning Policy Officer.


In response to Member’s questions the Principal Planning Policy Officer, Planning Policy Manager and Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development said the following:

      i.         The draft WRE plan looks at reductions in abstraction with short term measures to prevent further deterioration of the environment and longer-term measures to enhance the environment.

    ii.         To address the impact of the current development; a change was needed in where the water was taken in the longer term and how Cambridge Water with external partners would manage that transition. This was not just a Cambridge specific problem but an issue across the East of England.

   iii.         Officers would be working with the Environment Agency looking at ways to improve integrated water management across the region with an understanding on how water planning could be improved for future use.

  iv.         Officers would be willing to address the water issues with surrounding local authorities as this was not a single location issue.

    v.         Officers were also exploring what could be done locally, engaging with the Lead Local Flood Authority regarding surface water management, which might enable better recharge of the aquifer through slower runoff rates to improve infiltration.

  vi.         Officers would continue to address water management while working with local partners to improve the conditions of the chalk streams locally.

 vii.         The Water Company Water Resource Management Plans should set out a strategy for the plan period.  The plans would then go to the water regulator to look at the cost to the consumer.

viii.         The scrutiny committee was not the forum for considering the Equality Impact Assessment, this was for the regulator to make comment. 


The Executive Councillor stated that the chalk streams were not adequately protected. The Ecology Officers were exploring the possibility whether the chalk streams could get international recognition under the Ramsar Convention through an application.


The Water Resources East Board stated that the Water Resources Management Plan should be at an ‘enhanced’ level not a business-as-usual plan, this was a late decision from the Board.


The Committee

The Committee unanimously endorsed the Officer recommendations.


The Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport approved the recommendations.


Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted).

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.


Publication date: 11/07/2023

Date of decision: 27/01/2023