Olympic Park: Greenway


CEEQUAL Excellent (97%) – Whole Project Award
Version 4, Dec 2010 | London, England

Client: Olympic Delivery Authority
Design: Arup and Adams & Sutherland
Construction: VolkerFitzpatrick Ltd

Assessor: Chris Burgess and Leah Gilfrin

Project Summary

The Greenway is the name given to the embankment and footpath that runs along the top of Thames Water northern outfall sewers. The northern outfall sewers are the arterial interceptor sewers that collect north London’s sewage and transfer it eastwards by gravity to Beckton sewage treatment works on the River Thames. Whilst the Greenway is owned by Thames Water, it is made available for use by cyclists and pedestrians under a permitted path agreement with the local borough councils. A number of published walking and cycling routes pass along this area.

A section of the Greenway runs along the south side of London 2012 Olympic Park from the bridge adjacent to West Ham Station to St Marks Gate, Victoria Park. The Greenway also extends to the Lea Navigation Towpath (which is owned and maintained by British Waterways) from Carpenters Road to the Greenway at Old Ford Lock.

These sections of the Greenway were in very poor condition; the vegetation was overgrown; vandalism; fly tipping; littering and graffiti were extensive. The whole route was not well used and felt isolated and unsafe.

The project had multiple aims, but ultimately the aim was to transform this section of the Greenway into an urban park and cycleway that is attractive and provides a safe and welcoming environment for visitors and users during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games and in Legacy.


Ecology and Biodiversity

Within the Olympic Park Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) it was suggested that the Greenway should make a contribution to brownfield habitat creation. The creation of substrate beds (see Picture 1 below) and several log piles along the route (particularly near Lea Navigation) has contributed to the creation of brownfield habitat which will provide ideal habitats for reptiles and invertebrates. The other habitat that has been created is a mix of meadow and shrub with patches of retained habitat that will provide a rich natural habitat and key green corridor along the south of the Olympic Park. The total area of new habitat that has been installed is 23 738m2 (2.3 hectares).

Historic Environment

The whole of the Greenway is a heritage asset. There are four locally listed structures on site, which includes the Northern Outfall Sewer (See Picture 2 below).
There are numerous places where the design and build has either drawn attention to, or enhanced heritage features like Channelsea Bridge and other unlisted elements like reclaimed items such as manhole covers, the Abbey Lane Bridge sun dial– all of which reflects the industrial heritage of the area. A maintenance plan for the Greenway was drawn up to ensure the future management and maintenance includes the protection of heritage assets.


The project demonstrated best practice in utilising opportunities to reuse existing materials from site. This included:

  1. use of 1050m2 of reclaimed materials from Northern Outfall Sewer, resulting in 190 tonnes of concrete saved and materials not wasted
  2. reuse of existing fencing for Pedestrian Restraint System saving the need to install 350 linier metres of new fencing
  3. reuse of 1050m2 of site won cobbles (See Picture 3 below) saving 190 tonnes of concrete and materials not wasted
  4. reuse of 40 tonnes of site won bricks (See Picture 4 below)
  5. reuse of 65 site won manhole covers (See Picture 5 below) saving 3250 tonnes of waste
  6. refurbishing and reusing 354m of existing Type C Park Railings (See Picture 6 below).

Along with utilising the existing site materials the project used 100% recycled aggregate for all sub base works, including the reuse of all planings from the existing footpath. The delineation strip was produced in 600mm lengths off site, and in using this method avoided approximately 30 tonnes of concrete over on-site manufacture. The concrete used was 100% stent concrete in the cycle path and 100% light aggregate concrete for the vehicle blocks.

Community Relations

The Greenway has proved to be a hugely popular spot for visitors to come and see the construction progress of the Olympic Park. From the Greenway visitors can get a clear view of the Olympic Stadium and the wider Olympic Park. A visitor centre and cafe, The View Tube, is located adjacent to the Greenway.