Project Details


Cambridge A14 Motorway Serivces


Cambridge, England


July 2022

About The Project

As part of the final stages to the long-running A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme, Cambridge motorway services, run by Extra MSA, underwent a complete refurbishment scheme that was completed in July 2022. Cambridge is one of eight state-of-the-art motorway services across the UK run by Extra MSA, including Skelton Lakes near Leeds, for which Green-tech also supplied soil, compost, bark, and tree shelters.

Situated close to the northern end of the M11, within open countryside just four miles Northwest of Cambridge, the multi-million-pound project provides an exceptional experience for visitors; so much so that they have been named in the UK’s top 5 motorway services based on customer facilities.

The landscape improvements included re-contouring of the land, new EV charging points, and double the parking capacity for all vehicle types, from cars, motorhomes and caravans to coaches and HGVs.

What we did

The project included both hard and soft landscaping, with the large outdoor seating area in front of the main entrance featuring four trees set within a block paving and resin bound mixed surface. It makes for a very pleasant area to sit and relax or eat. It was noted that the resin surface has been set too close to the tree trunks. This will be reported back, and it should be a relatively quick and easy job to cut the resin back to allow for future tree growth. I think that some end user clients think that leaving space around a tree trunk will act as a litter trap, but it is vital for a tree’s health to leave it some growing room. If needs be, just fill the gap with some pea gravel.

Green-tech has been manufacturing its range of Green-tree soil for nearly twenty years, and 270 tonnes of sub-soil and Geo-Cellular Raft System topsoil was supplied for the tree pits in hard.  In order to use a nice friable, organic topsoil underneath the paving, Green-tech supplied their Geo-Cellular Raft System tree pit support system that acts as a sub-base replacement, supporting the paving above, pedestrian, or vehicular, whilst protecting the soft soil below from risk of compaction. Each tree pit also contains a strap anchor to keep the trees stable during the all-important establishment phase, along with a mona irrigation ring.

The Geo-Cellular Raft System has three big advantages over traditional deep-pit crate systems. Firstly – it sits over the top of the tree pit, taking its structural support from a 500mm wide ledge cut into the surrounding formation ground, meaning there is no plastic whatsoever in the actual rooting area of the tree pit. Secondly – its shallow profile, just 150mm deep means that there is rarely any conflict with underground services, it isn’t deep enough. And third – Geo-Cellular Raft System uses less than a third of the plastic of traditional crate-style tree pit systems, so it’s better for the budget and the environment.

The tree planting in soft will create a buffer between the main services and the lorry park, as well as the surrounding area. Green-tech supplied 1,687 tree shelters to give protection from the local wildlife, along with nearly 500 tree stakes with rubber belts and ties where required, and 220 Mona Grand Aria irrigation rings.

To aid healthy establishment nearly 20,000 litres of compost was delivered to site and to top it all off, over 100,000 litres of ornamental bark.

Extra MSA are really upping the standards of motorway services, making them somewhere quite pleasant to stop off and rest awhile. Cambridge Services, along with Skelton Lakes close to Green-tech’s head office in Yorkshire, show what a difference a well thought out landscaping plan can make. It is wonderful to see the finished project and we look forward to seeing the trees and landscape mature over the coming years.

Alasdair Innes – Green-tech Specification Advisor: