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Sustainable Cottenham May 2022 Update

EV Charging

Litter Pick – Saturday 23 April 2022 

We had good weather for our spring litter-pick and were pleased to find that the majority of the village streets were quite litter-free, so we could concentrate on problem areas. These were: 

1 – the verges of all the roads leading away from the village – these were pretty bad!

2 – the Pound – that’s the tiny car park nearly opposite the Post Office. 

3 – Harlestones Road – the sort-of lay-by just by the cemetery fence.

4 – Wilkin Walk.

5 – just inside the perimeter fences around the playing fields behind the Village Hall.  

Unlike the pick in June 2021 we did not carry out a ‘brand audit’ to help Surfers Against Sewage and Keep Britain Tidy work out which companies produced the items which people litter the most.  However, reports came in at the end that Red Bull and Lucozade containers still featured strongly amongst the rubbish collected!  

Overall about 16 bags of rubbish were collected – by far the majority from the roadside verges.  This was around 10% fewer than were collected in June 2021.  

On this occasion there was no cycle path tidy as in previous years – it will happen next time! 

Sustainable Cottenham would like to thank the 20 or so volunteers who took part, including the suppliers of tea/coffee/cold drinks and (excellent) cake in the Village Hall afterwards, and the parish council for their support and supplying equipment.  In all about 50 hours of time was volunteered – time well spent given the amount of stuff collected.  

Peter Pilbeam, Sustainable Cottenham

Changes to Highway Code should mean safer streets

These key changes are welcome news for those on foot or pedal power, and will hopefully encourage more of us to cycle more often:

  • A new ‘Hierarchy of Responsibility’ recognises that road users who pose greater risks to others have a higher level of responsibility
  • Rules for junctions without traffic lights have been simplified, to make them safer for pedestrians crossing side streets or cyclists being overtaken when cars are turning left (those going straight on have right of way)
  • A new minimum distance of 1.5m for safe passing of cyclists has been set, with greater distances for higher speeds and large vehicles
  • Clearer guidance to cycle 0.5m away from parked cars, and for drivers to check before opening doors, including the ’Dutch Reach’ technique of opening the door with the hand furthest away from it, which naturally turns the body to aid checking

Find out more at

Thinking about an electric car?

In March more electric vehicles (EVs) were sold in the UK than in the whole of 2019. While it’s always best to walk or cycle when possible, if you’re planning to replace your current car and thinking about going for an EV here are some key things to consider:

  1. New, second-hand or lease? EV is an established technology now, and concerns about rapid battery degradation have not been borne out. This means second-hand is definitely an option. Some employers have salary sacrifice car leasing schemes for EVs – check with yours. 
  2. Range/battery capacity. If you only use a car for local journeys range isn’t an issue, and a second-hand 24kWh model may be all you need. If you need to do longer journeys you’ll need to get an idea of the ‘real-world’ range of different models – NOT what the manufacturer states is the range! Range is rarely stated on second-hand car adverts because it varies in different conditions and with driving styles, but larger batteries will get you further, so look for 30kWh+ models and then research these online. If buying second hand ask about the battery state of health – you want this to be over 80%. It is worth paying a small amount for a gadget that you can plug in to check this.
  3. Chargers. Unless you are doing a lot of mileage you don’t have to get a special charger installed at home. As long as your home electrics are safe, you can plug your EV in to a suitable normal plug socket to charge slowly overnight. Check about cables if buying second-hand – you should get a 3-pin plug cable included, but they are often sold separately so it could be missing.
  4. Out and about. The explosion in EV ownership does mean that charging infrastructure is lagging behind. You’ll need to download an App like Plugshare, Pod-Point or ZapMap to find chargers suitable for your EV (yes, they are not all compatible!) and plan longer routes carefully, allowing more time. Be prepared to turn up at a charging point and find it’s out of order or occupied – make sure you have enough charge to get to an alternative.

If you’re not ready to replace your car remember that reading the road ahead to avoid sharp braking, limiting speed, removing unnecessary weight and ensuring your tyres are at the correct pressure will help reduce the fuel consumption of any car. 

I found these useful when researching electric cars:

Vicky Lacey, Sustainable Cottenham