Improve highways and the environment

The upkeep of our highways and environment are vital in keeping our communities connected and safe on the move. It is also essential to our local economy. Local Councils and community groups are already stepping up by helping the County Council look after 2,600 miles of roads and over 1800 miles of rights of way. This can include:

  • Co-ordinating volunteer gritters.
  • Doing minor works on low speed roads.
  • Applying to the Local Highways Improvement Initiative for new highway developments.  Some have independently funded improved signing, road markings, speed limit changes and increased parking controls in their community
  • Cutting grass, clearing verges and vegetation.
  • Maintaining signs and rights of way - often enhancing the standard offer and adding extra value.

If you would any further advice on improving your local highway or have a suggestion/feedback from your local community on something they would like to see or commemorate, then please log the location on our report it site, or use our feedback system and select Highways.

Getting involved

Community Highways Volunteering Scheme

The Community Highways Volunteering Scheme allows Parishes, Towns and community groups to undertake small scale routine maintenance activities within their own communities, such as:

  • Litter picking
  • Cutting back vegetation
  • Cleaning signs 
  • Siding of footpaths

Two information packs (one for Cambridge City and one for the rest of the county) have been created to help you learn more about the scheme and arrange to get involved:

Please also find some useful Frequently Asked Questions about our scheme:

Planters, litter bins, seats and cycle stands

Planter can provide some colour and nature to an urban street. Litter bins, seats and cycle stands are all useful additions to the streetscape. All can be added to the streetscene by Town and Parish councils.

Current policy within our Highways Operational Standards seeks to support the placing of community beneficial infrastructure by Town and Parish Councils and states

"Planters, litter bins, seats and cycle stands may be permitted on the public highway as part of works to enhance or improve the environment, maintenance or the operation of the highway provided they do not interfere with the safe or convenient passage of highway users or the maintenance of the highway.

Where provided by third parties they will be subject to the policy on third party funding of highway features although the need for a commuted sum may be substituted by a suitable maintenance agreement and as such will be considered on a case by case basis."

Town and Parish Councils or local community organisations wishing to place a planter or other feature on the highway need to contact their Local Highway Officer (LHO) who will talk them through the process, particular locations and proposals being developed, looking to identify suitable locations and establishing appropriate management plans to avoid planters falling into disrepair or misuse.

Further advice

Green bus shelters

Bus shelters are one of several types of infrastructure that can be designed to include nature. Bike stands, benches and bus stops can all be green. A wide and increasing range of green solutions for this type of infrastructure are available of varying complexity and cost. Solutions are available for retro fit and all new installations.

Green bus shelters are often more expensive to purchase and require a higher level of maintenance than traditional designs to ensure the planting establishes itself. Regular maintenance of any planting is also required to stop the plants ‘overgrowing’. These additional costs of purchase and increased maintenance will need to be considered by a Town or Parish Council when considering a green shelter.

As with any infrastructure on the highway the location and design need to be carefully considered to ensure safe use and safe maintenance. As a relatively new and specialist area of infrastructure Town and Parish Councils are best to seek detailed advice from the industry specialists.

Further advice

It should be noted that whilst bus shelters are located on the highway, they do not form part of the highway asset provided and managed by the County Council as the Highway Authority.

The responsibility for the maintenance and management of them lies with Parish and District Councils. The County Council is responsible for the bus infrastructure associated with the Guided Busway, which includes the bus shelters. The County Council does not have any procurement arrangements in place for the purchase of bus shelters.