Anglian Water launches public consultation on its new waste water treatment facility for Greater Cambridge

23 June 2021


Anglian Water has launched the second phase of its consultation on the relocation of its waste water treatment facility for Greater Cambridge which will unlock the existing site for Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District Councils’ plan to deliver thousands of new homes.


The water company has shared its initial plans for the site and is asking for feedback on them from the local community and other statutory consultees. Respondents are also being asked to comment on how the site can benefit the wider community and environment. All responses will then be taken into consideration in developing the project further before it moves on to the next stage of consultation early next year.


This second phase of consultation follows the extensive site selection process which identified an area north of the A14, between Fen Ditton and Horningsea as the most suitable location for the new facility.


The proposals have been progressed to incorporate the feedback received by local communities in the non-statutory first phase of the consultation which took place in 2020 and with advice from The Design Council, an independent charity and the Government’s strategic advisor on design. Alongside new habitats for wildlife, existing footpaths will be added to and extended, creating improved access for non-motorised users to the Cambridgeshire countryside. A proposed Discovery Centre will also provide educational opportunities for local schools and communities.


The initial design proposes that the 22-hectare plant will be screened by a wide circular earthwork bank, inspired by ancient Fen hill forts. The grassy bank will blend in with the surrounding landscape as it matures, both providing an immediate screen to the facility and creating new habitat for wildlife.


The local community is being asked to share its views on a number of crucial elements including:


·       The overall design proposals for the new site. 

·       The finish of the more visible features of the plant, including further screening that could sit on top of the plant’s earthwork bank, the anaerobic digestors and the gateway to the new facility.

·       The proposed solution for providing suitable long-term access to the new site.  

·       The opportunities for environmental enhancement, including landscaping, habitats for wildlife, and the options to connect the community to the wider countryside.

·       How the proposals align with local projects and aspirations such as the Wicken Fen vision, Cambridge Nature Network and Greenways, and any other additional projects that are important for Anglian Water to consider as part of its proposals.


Over 9,700 residents and businesses in the surrounding area will be sent details of the design through the post and will be invited to comment on it. A virtual online exhibition will also be available to all at and community webinars will be held on the 7th, 8th and 10th July. This phase of the consultation will run until August 18, after which all feedback will be considered and presented back to the community as part of phase three consultation next year.


Karen Barclay Head of the Cambridge Relocation Public Consultation for Anglian Water said:

“We hope the local community is as inspired by this initial design as we are. We’ve drawn on everything from history and archaeology to the present day wildlife and community needs of the area to create what is a really innovative design for a waste water treatment facility. We’ve been guided by experts on how to create a facility that is sympathetic to the environment as well as cutting edge in how it provides what is an essential service to the city and its surroundings.


“Most importantly, we are grateful for all the feedback we gathered during our first round of consultation, all of which has been considered as we developed this proposal.


“It’s rare nowadays that a waste water treatment facility of this significance is built from the ground up, and we fully appreciate people and communities may be anxious about it. We hope our proposals can allay some of the concerns previously expressed and show that we are genuine in our intent to create both a really innovative facility and new space for wildlife, all accessible on new paths that link with the existing local network.”


The development of the new facility will mean the existing site at Cowley Road can be decommissioned, opening up an area to the north of Cambridge for redevelopment that will stimulate growth, support jobs and create a new low carbon community. The new facility will recycle water from the city and the surrounding area, extracting nutrients and generating renewable energy from it before returning clean water to the River Cam. The nutrients will be used to enrich local farmland, while the renewable energy will power the facility and heat homes.


The new site is being designed to be a low carbon facility and will be visually unlike traditional water recycling centres. Four core requirements, based on the first round of feedback from the local community, underpin how it has been designed:


·       Odour prevention: the site location, design and technology have all been chosen with minimising odours in mind. The fact that it is a brand new, state of the art facility means the latest technologies and solutions to minimise odour can be incorporated from the outset.

·       Carbon footprint: Anglian Water is committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. All infrastructure built by the company is designed with this target in mind.

·       Environmental opportunities: new trees, hedgerows and grassland will support and enrich local habitats for wildlife, allowing the site to sit more discretely within the surrounding landscape. It will provide improved access for the local community to places like the Wicken Fen and proposes new landscape, habitat and access that aligns with local plans and projects. Importantly plans are also being developed to raise the biodiversity value of the site by a minimum of 10%.

·       Community value: A Discovery Centre will be created adjoining the plant which will be accessible for schools in the local community, to help the next generation learn about the water recycling process and water as a precious resource.

·       Reducing visual impact: screening the plant using landscaping and reusing the material excavated during the build and tunneling.   


Visit for further information, to view the virtual exhibition and to provide feedback.  Residents are invited to join the Company’s virtual events to hear more about the proposals. The project consultation team can also be contacted to ask any questions or request information to be provided in alternative formats by calling 0808 196 1661 or emailing


Click here to watch a video of the proposed design.


Visit the virtual exhibition here