Ahead of the launch of our 2022 election manifesto and city report, we are proud to share our top 5 achievements this year:
1. We supported those struggling the most during the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.
We supported our residents throughout the pandemic, working with mutual aids, voluntary groups, faith groups and businesses to make sure that residents got all possible support and advice during this difficult time. As part of this, we supported our network of local food hubs, distributing food to people who need it and starting the work to make Cambridge a Right to Food City. We also invested £200k to establish a community food centre and community kitchen and continued our investment in a sustainable food system, planning for a permanent community food centre and delivering 151 new allotment plots. We also run one of the most generous Council tax reduction schemes in the country, currently working with over 6500 households.
2. We prioritised addressing the climate emergency
We have taken a wide range of actions designed to address the climate emergency, including driving progress to becoming a net zero council, initiated a £1.7 Million de-carbonisation scheme in our swimming pools, reduced carbon emissions and air pollution from our waste services and installed 21 new electric charging points for taxis to support the move to electric vehicles. All of this, has seen us rated in 2022, amongst the top 10% of all local authorities nationally for our climate actions.
3. We delivered on our ambitious council housing programme
This year we exceeded our targets for building new council homes ahead of schedule, with 542 completed or started on site and plans for a further 1000 by 2031. We also initiated an ambitious retrofitting programme including £3.2 million scheme to retrofit 150 1930’s solid wall council homes to energy rating ‘B’, and a £5 million pilot to retrofit 50 homes to net zero carbon. We helped to cut energy bills by putting roof insulation in every council home. We also added an extra £75,000 to our Discretionary Housing Payment Fund to help council tenants who are struggling with their rent.
4. We have increased biodiversity and protected our wildlife and nature
We have delivered on an ambitious programme to increase biodiversity across Cambridge including initiating a 12-month herbicide-free trial in Newnham and Arbury, exploring alternative, chemical-free methods of looking after our city’s public areas building on our 2019/20 ban on herbicide use on parks and open spaces. We also planted 594 trees, plus 269 Free Trees for Babies, 91 trees under the Neighbourhood Canopy Campaign, 260 trees on Logan’s Meadow Nature Reserve, 35 on Paradise Nature Reserve and 600 in East Chesterton’s Tiny Forest. We protected and enhanced nature across the city, building 10 bee banks,11 bat boxes and 230 metres of beetle banks. We planted 5740 m2 of insect-friendly wildflower meadows, planted 320 m2 of native woodland bulbs and managed 80,000 m2 of our open spaces as long grass areas in 2022. We also successfully submitted bids to enhance Logan’s Meadow and further protect our chalk streams.
5. We have prioritised community support and addressing inequalities
We awarded £1.7 million in grants to community and voluntary groups this year, one of the most generous local authority grants programmes in the country. We tackled digital poverty providing support to get over 700 households online and giving 500 of those a digital device. We funded a variety of groups that help families, young people and women’s organisations. We also supported groups advocating for the rights of our diverse communities, including Cambridge Community Ethnic Forum, Cambridge Vietnamese Refugee Community, the Indian Community and Culture Association and the Indian Cultural Society as well as pledging support, as a City of Sanctuary, to refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine.