Azara Blog: Cam between Cambridge and Grantchester will not have motorised punts

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Date published: 2008/04/11

The BBC says:

Plans to run motorised punts on the River Cam in Cambridge have been scrapped due to concerns over wildlife.

River authority the Cam Conservators has bowed to protests and said engines on punts for public use would be banned from the upper stretch of the river.

The scheme would have shortened journeys to Grantchester for tourists.

The initial planning application to Cambridge City Council prompted about 1,000 people to sign a petition objecting to the plans.

Entrepreneurs Matt Garlick and Alex Ramsey proposed the scheme, claiming it would have cut the journey to Grantchester to half an hour.

This would have made it possible for tourists to make the journey in a single afternoon or morning.

However, the river authority has now sided with environmentalists such as local activist Simon Crowhurst, who described the stretch of river just above the city as "particularly beautiful and ecologically sensitive."

The people who opposed this were not "environmentalists", they were typical academic middle class people who refuse to accept that the world should ever change. And the academic middle class people of Cambridge always particularly get hysterical about the land between Cambridge and Grantchester.

The claim that that stretch of the river is "ecologically sensitive" is a bit of a joke. If so, why allow punts at all? (Many of which are conducted by very drunk students who cause much more damage than any motorised punt would.) Still, Cambridge likes to pretend it is still living in the 17th century (just look at how college Fellows wine and dine) and that stretch of the river epitomises the 17th century idyll. So it would have been crazy to allow motorised punts there just to make a bunch of tourists happy.

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