General Greenway FAQs

    What is a Greenway?

    Greenways are new and or improved walking and cycling routes and where appropriate, horse-riding routes following off-road paths, along quiet streets or with facilities alongside busier roads to help more people reach more of Greater Cambridge with cheaper, cleaner and greener journeys.  

    What are the benefits of a Greenway?

    The Greenways will: 

    • Provide better, safer and greener cycling and walking and, where appropriate, horse riding routes, to and from Cambridge and the surrounding villages and other settlements 
    • Improve access to jobs and opportunities, education, healthcare, leisure and other services. 
    • Help to reduce the impact of traffic congestion and growing traffic levels 
    • Improve our health by enabling more active travel and helping to reduce air pollution.
    • Provide safe active travel routes that all ages and abilities can use.

    How many Greenways are there?

    A network of twelve Greenways have been agreed as part of the City Deal investment to design more affordable and more sustainable ways to make journeys. These are: 

    • Barton
    • Bottisham  
    • Comberton  
    • Fulbourn  
    • Haslingfield  
    • Horningsea  
    • Linton (under construction through Cambridge South East Transport scheme) 
    • Melbourn  
    • Sawston  
    • St Ives 
    • Swaffhams 
    • Waterbeach 

    The proposed network of routes was developed from 2016 and approved by the GCP Executive board in 2020. We are now seeking public feedback on designs for the routes and key decisions on certain sections of them. 

    More information about the Greenway routes can be found on the Greenways webpage

    How were these routes decided?

    In 2015, the Greater Cambridge Partnership received £500million to make vital improvements to Greater Cambridge’s walking, cycling and public transport network. 

    The Greenway routes were initially proposed to GCP partner, Cambridgeshire County Council, by Nigel Brigham associates in a report that was commissioned in 2016. They have since been revised following public comments on route alignments and proposed interventions between July 2017 and May 2018. Potential Greenway routes were shown on surveys and maps at public events and on the Greater Cambridge Partnership website.  

    The routes and potential types of intervention were agreed following this consultation and at meetings of the GCP Executive Board throughout 2020.  

    We are now focused on designs for the routes with the help of local communities. 

    Where is the funding for these projects coming from?

    The Greenways were approved for funding by the GCP Executive Board in 2020 as part of the City Deal investment programme. The City Deal was set-up to invest in transport, skills and housing to support and unlock growth in Greater Cambridge and more broadly benefiting the UK economy and wider society.

    Small sections of some routes may be funded by, or built as part of, new developments that already have planning permission (called Section 106 agreements). 

    When does building on the Greenways start?

    There is an aspiration to complete construction of all Greenways by December 2025. Where possible, GCP are pushing forward with sections of routes that can be delivered sooner. For example, the Linton Greenway is currently under construction.

    After the engagement period closes, further detailed work is needed, based upon feedback received, before construction can start.

    Throughout Summer 2022 to Winter 2022/23, public engagement sessions are taking place to capture further feedback on proposed designs for each Greenway. Designs will then be developed in detail alongside other preparatory works, such as ecological surveys and obtaining planning consents before construction and building can begin. 

    We will then start building the Greenways in different phases on a rolling basis. This may mean some sections of Greenways will be open and available to use before the whole route is complete, ensuring some benefit is delivered to certain places sooner, depending on planning consents, ecology, complexity of construction or landowner requirements.

    How will the Greenways be maintained and by whom?

    The Greenways will be adopted by Cambridgeshire County Council as part of the Highways network and be managed accordingly.

    What is the current public engagement?

    Meetings are being held with the public, key stakeholders, community groups and Parish Councils to present the technical design and gather feedback on the design of the routes.

    For further information on the specific route engagement events, please head to the GCP Greenways webpage and select the Greenway you wish to find out more.

    How can I have my say on helping shape the Greenways projects?

    The public engagement work for the Comberton Greenway runs from 4 July 2022 until 29 July  2022 and for Haslingfield Greenway from the 11 July to 5 August 2022, in which time you can fill in our surveys and let us know your feedback on the routes. 

    The public engagement for the other 8 Greenways (the Linton Greenway is already under construction) will take place later in the year and early in 2023. 

    You can contact us at any time to share your thoughts on the Greenways project by emailing us at link)(External link) or via phone: 01223 699906 

    How will my feedback be used? What happens after the public engagement?

    Your feedback will be used by the project team to update current designs for these Greenways, before they are progressed to detailed design. 

    Throughout Summer to Winter 2022, public engagement sessions are taking place to capture further feedback on proposed designs for each Greenway. 

    Designs will then be developed in detail alongside other preparatory works, such as ecological surveys and obtaining planning consents before construction and building can begin. 

    What type of signage will be used along the Greenway Routes?

    All signage included along the Greenway Routes will be set out in a prescribed way, in accordance with the latest guidance and in line with the latest version of the Highway Code. This includes signage to advise users of the presence of pedestrians, cyclists and, where appropriate, horse riders, along the Greenway Network.

    We are also preparing a wayfinding strategy, that will detail the types and signs to be used to way find along the route and signpost people to locations and destinations.

    A detailed schedule of proposed signage, including types of signage and locations, will be included as part of the detailed drawings in the next stages of the design.

    We are happy to receive feedback and comments from the public and stakeholders as part of this engagement process, on any signage which we should consider.

    What is a Topographical Survey? How will this help?

    Topographical surveys help us to ascertain ground levels, features and existing layout of the ground in an area. This will help to inform the feasibility of the design.

    These are mostly undertaken using 3D laser scanning. GCP are working with landowners to help undertake these and ensure our proposals complement existing features and minimise impacts.  

    What is a Watercourse Survey? How will this help?

    Watercourse surveys need to be undertaken to look at the potential impact of the scheme on watercourses. This is especially important for sections of the route along Bin Brook, for example, in Comberton.

    Watercourse surveys provide information on the structures and the levels along the watercourse so that these can be included in a hydraulic model of the watercourse. The results of the hydraulic model will inform the design of the structures along the watercourses, such as new bridges or improvements to existing ones, or any proposed modifications to riverbanks, to manage flood risk. 

    What Traffic and Parking Surveys are being done? How will this help?

    Traffic surveys will help us to determine existing traffic flows, speeds and the number of pedestrians and / or cyclists that use an existing road, crossing point or existing footpath. This data will help us to determine where we could improve safety and what impact this may have.

    We are also undertaking parking surveys to look in detail at how parking is used along the route. To make the routes safer for walking and cycling, it may be necessary to alter, move or remove some parking along certain sections of the routes.


    The number and location of parking bays to be changed will be determined by surveys at the next stage of design.  

    How will the Greenways support accessibility needs?

    We encourage feedback from disabled people on these designs to help ensure we are accommodating different needs.

    We will also be engaging local disability forums on the Greenways network, to understand how we can make the designs accessible and more inclusive. 

    The routes are being designed to be fully accessible for wheelchairs. This will include widening of paths, step-free access and hard surfaces and ensuring any ramps that replace steps have gentle gradients. 

     An Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) will be conducted for each route to ensure that our actions and decisions for each route are fair and do not present barriers or disadvantage any protected group. 

    Will any further future links be considered as part of this Greenway Network, other than what is shown?

    GCP are aware of further opportunities to provide additional links to the Greenway Network, other than what is shown as part of this engagement process.

    However, funding for the scheme is currently limited to the design and delivery of the set routes as illustrated on the 12 Greenways Network Map, which has been included as part of this engagement process.

    GCP are in regular contact with Cambridgeshire County Council’s Development Control Team to understand what development is coming forward in future years where connections could be made, and explore opportunities for future connections.

    What is the environmental impact of the scheme? Has the carbon impact been calculated?

    We are committed to ensuring minimal disruption to the areas surrounding the greenways including existing trees, hedgerows, and other vegetation.

     The off-road sections are being designed to enhance the landscape for wildlife and help people reach greenspaces.

     We have commissioned a number of environmental surveys which will allow us to ensure that any impact on sensitive ecological features is kept to a minimum and to confirm areas where we can contribute positively to biodiversity. GCP are also working with their contractors to ensure impacts are kept to a minimum throughout the construction and operational phases of the project.

    Of course, there will be carbon cost to construction and the materials we use. However, we are discussing materials and any potential to reduce carbon during construction with our contractors. 

    Additionally, the Greenways are just one part of a package of measures helping us to leave the car at home and travel in ways that do not harm the environment for many years to come – transport is currently the largest single source of carbon emissions from Greater Cambridge

     We will be using Cambridgeshire County Council’s recently adopted Carbon Calculator to assess the carbon impact of the scheme. The Carbon Calculator is set to be a standardised tool used for all Council’s projects and suppliers. This approach will provide transparency, enable carbon emissions to be quantified and reduce environmental implications.

    What Environmental Surveys are being undertaken? How will this help?

    We are committed to minimising any potential impacts on the local environment and enhancing it where possible.

    We have a commitment to increase and enhance biodiversity overall by 20 per cent.  To ensure that all environmental constraints and considered, and to assess the possible effects of the proposals on the environment and local ecology, we are undertaking tree, ecological and hedgerow assessments. These surveys will allow us to ensure impact on sensitive ecological features are kept to a minimum and confirm areas where we can contribute positively to biodiversity.

    These surveys are non-intrusive and allow us to inspect and map trees and tree structures, habitats on site, any legally protected or notable species and hedgerows.

    What surface materials are proposed? Will these be environmentally-friendly?

    Generally, the new routes will be made from a hard, smooth surface such as asphalt. In more rural locations, we will introduce appropriate surface treatment that is sensitive to the local environment.

    We are working to ensure that any materials used as part of the Greenways Network will be fit-for-purpose, environmentally-friendly, durable and long-lasting, and meet County Highway’s maintenance requirements.

    GCP are in regular contact with the Highways Teams to discuss any ongoing maintenance and highways issues as part of the proposed Greenway Network.

    Any proposed materials will be subject to feedback that we receive from the public and stakeholders as part of this engagement process

Sawston Greenway FAQs

    1. What is happening on the route now?

    This engagement is to update you on the scheme design proposals and invite feedback before they are progressed to more detailed design stage.

    Public consultation on the proposed route alignments for the 12 Greenways was held in 2018/19. Further design work on the routes was approved by Councillors at the GCP Executive Board in June 2020. You can find more details on our Greenways webpage: 

    To progress the scheme, GCP have commissioned several site surveys along the planned route and a consultant to progress the alignment agreed by the GCP Executive Board.

    2. Who is being included as part of the Sawston Greenway engagement process?

    The public engagement process for the Sawston Greenway will run for four weeks, from 14th November to midday 9th December 2022. This is open to all members of the public. As part of this we have an in-person engagement event at Sawston Mill Lane Pavillon on 30th November 2022, plus our virtual event via Zoom on the 23rd November 2022 and through this online survey. 

    Please click the link here: to register your place.

    As part of this process, we have also been engaging with key stakeholders including local authority officers, our Non-Motorised User forums (walking, cycling, horse riding), relevant Parish Councils and Landowners, as well as Network Rail and National Highways, where appropriate.

    There will be opportunities for further engagement before construction starts.

    3. Is the proposed route alignment for the Sawston Greenway fixed?

    Yes, the route, as we are showing, has been approved by the GCP Executive Board in June 2020. However, further engagement will be required with private landowners for certain sections to be delivered. 

    The creation of a new off-road shared use path from Great Shelford to Dernford Reservoir and the A1301 is subject to further engineering feasibility work, Network Rail agreement and landowner agreement. 

     The feedback received from residents and other local stakeholders in 2018/19 has informed the choice of route and shaped the proposals being presented as part of this engagement.

    4. There are a number of other projects occurring within the vicinity of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, will these affect the delivery of the Sawston Greenway scheme?

    Greater Cambridge Partnership is currently engaging with key stakeholders to ensure a collaborative and co-ordinated approach to delivering the Sawston Greenway alongside the other projects happening in the local area. This engagement will continue throughout the on-going delivery process to ensure good integration of the Sawston Greenway within the local existing and future transport network.

    5. Will the sections of Greenway schemes in the countryside be lit during hours of darkness?

    Yes, the current proposal is for a series of solar studs, subject to approval by the County Council as Highway Authority. This low-impact, sustainable energy solution is considered the most appropriate for a rural setting where a balance has to be struck between user safety and impact on the local environment.

    6. How will the section of the Sawston Greenway along Francis Crick Avenue be developed and delivered?

    Currently, this section of the route would be delivered by the CSETs (Cambridge South East Transport) project – a proposed busway between Babraham and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus . Although this means that the design for Francis Crick Avenue is not being undertaken by the Sawston Greenway project team, the two project teams are in close communication and sharing designs with each other to ensure that any redesign of Francis Crick Avenue will tie-in with the Sawston Greenway and provide good quality provision for active travel users

    7. What would be the impact of the changes at the Long Road/Robinson Way junction and why is a roundabout no longer proposed?

    In the initial Sawston Greenway consultation a ‘Dutch roundabout’ was proposed at this junction. More detailed assessment of the site and the space available indicated that there is insufficient space to provide a Dutch roundabout which would conform with design best practice. Alternate options were therefore considered and a signal controlled crossing was felt to be the best option. Given the high expected usage at certain times of day, the design separates pedestrians and cyclists to improve accessibility and improve user comfort.

    The final design will be informed by the results of traffic modelling, as well as feedback received from the general public or other local stakeholders

    8. Why do the proposed designs not include a connection from the A1301 to Sawston?

    This final section of the Greenway has already been delivered by GCP in 2019. Cambridge Road, which links the A1301 to Sawston, has recently been upgraded with a shared use path.

    9. Can equestrians use the shared paths on the Sawston Greenway?

    Yes, where new shared use paths provide an alternative equestrian route or connectivity with the existing bridleway network.