Bourn Brook Update

A meeting held at Bourn Golf Club on 5 February was well and enthusiastically attended. Some attendees were bursting with local knowledge; others brought expert viewpoints. There were three main speakers. Richard Bowen of the Environment Agency (EA) dealt with the EU Water Framework Directive, aimed at improving all rivers by 2027, with reference to the Bourn, mentioning the £1½ million treatment project at Bourn sewerage works. David Gillett, also of the EA, discussed the topical issue of flood risk management, highlighting the lack of significant sums of money available for work in the Bourn valley.


Particular and informed concern was raised in the audience by the proposed development of a new ‘village’ of 3,500 homes on the site of the Bourn airfield within the Bourn Brook’s catchment.  A listener pointed out an apparent serious failing that any lessons which could have been learned about drainage and pollution from the experience of Cambourne, had not been researched, and that potential lessons from Cambourne could not be applied to Bourn airfield. This is worth further investigation, as if this information is available it could be very useful.


The third speaker was Vince Lea of the Countryside Restoration Trust who spoke about invasive species (mink, signal crayfish, Himalayan balsam, giant hogweed), the need to encourage the return of water voles, habitat restoration by scrub clearance and pollarding, and, more especially, the OPPORTUNITIES FOR VOLUNTEERS. Those wishing to engage practically with the Brook are urged to contact:


Ruth Hawksley, Wildlife Trust, 01954 713533,, or

Vince Lea, Countryside Restoration Trust, 01223 262999,


One of the outcomes of the meeting is the re-activation of the Bourn Flood Action Group, which will probably take a new name and a wider interest in invasive species and habitats as well as dealing with the threat of flooding to local property.  Other groups in Bourn and Toft expressed an interest in getting involved and publicising events to local people.  Events this spring include a local coppicing work party to improve habitat.  Volunteers to help pull Himalayan balsam are encouraged to get involved in the summer.


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