European Greenways Award 2015 call for candidacies is now open- New EU funded Project Greenways Outdoor - News from members from Belgium, UK,  Ireland, Spain, France, Latvia - New EGWA member -  
MAY 2015

Take part in the 7th European Greenways Award 2015!


Greenways Outdoor will help the development and greater recognition of European greenways as excellent tools for developing sustainable and local tourism.

Call for candidacies for the 7th European Greenways Award
(deadline: Monday 22 June 2015) 

Launch of new “Greenways Outdoorproject in 2015

The European Greenways Association (EGWA) announces the call for candidacies for the 7th European Greenways Award (EGA) 2015, organised by EGWA in co-operation with the Wallonie. 
The objective is to promote examples of best practice and to support their replication on other greenways all over Europe. The European Greenways Award will only be granted to greenways that adhere to the Lille Declaration, as well as to initiatives already in existence.
This biennial award will recognise examples of greenway best practice in two categories:

A. Excellence awards 
In this category the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes will be awarded to three exemplary greenways that show the best integration of the various characteristics that define greenways (Art. 1 of Regulations) and which also demonstrate specific strengths which, in the opinion of the jury, make them exemplary.

B. Exemplary initiatives
 A 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize will be awarded to exemplary initiatives carried out in relation to greenways. This category is open to any activity related to greenways in its broadest sense.

The deadline for receipt of candidacies: Monday 22 June 2015 

EGWA will co-ordinate this new EU project funded under the COSME programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

The objective of the Greenways Outdoor project is the creation and transnational promotion of an outdoor tourism product linked to European greenways, and an improvement in the capacity-building of SMEs located in their vicinity, so that they can tailor their services to the demands of customers and hence become more competitive.

Special tourism packages will be created related to outdoor sporting activities, together with a European catalogue of “Greenways Outdoor” tourism products and a catalogue of professional services and equipment for greenways to be used by tour operators and end users. Mass participation events will be held (e.g. marathons, cycle tours and Nordic walks, for all ages and abilities) to attract new customers.

Joint dissemination and promotion activities will be implemented on a pan-European scale through workshops and conferences, participation in specialised fairs, the creation of a European greenways outdoor award, a European photo competition, website, blogs, press trips and more. The competitiveness of companies involved in greenway tourism will be enhanced and their integration in tourism products promoted.

Public-private collaboration will be encouraged to facilitate the creation of a greenways tourism product. The sum of the proposed initiatives will make substantial progress in achieving recognition for the European greenways brand as a suitable product for outdoor tourism.


Greenways Outdoor project receives a very positive assessment

Evaluation of the proposal emphasized its high quality, and indicated that the idea of promoting greenways with rural tourism, through a variety of activities, is convincing; the expected impacts on SMEs and the development of sustainable tourism also received special mention in the appraisal.

The project will be implemented by 10 partners from five countries (Spain, Latvia, Portugal, Italy and Belgium): European Greenways Association (co-ordinator European scope); Spanish Railways Foundation (FFE); Fundación Vía Verde de la Sierra (Spain); Vidzemes Tourism Association (Latvia); Comunidade Intermunicipal Viseu Dão Lafões (Portugal); Gruppo di Azione Locale (GAL) (Italy); Polesine Delta del Po (Italy); Tourismusagentur Ostbelgien (Belgium); and SMEs Pangea Educación y Deporte en la Naturaleza SL, Diversport and Dxocio SL.

With a total budget of nearly €320,000 and an implementation period of 18 months, Greenways Outdoor will start in the comings weeks. The greenway network, and especially EGWA members, will have the opportunity to participate in the project (e.g. by inclusion in the catalogues, and participation in workshops and specialised fairs) and benefit from excellent promotion and the results of the project as a whole.

We will keep you informed about the project’s progress and any opportunities for co-operation.

The new project will promote outdoor sports on greenways to attract new customers.

Antonella Correra, from the DG GROWTH of the European Commission (left),  representative from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment, and Carmen Aycart, General Secretary of EGWA (right) at the workshop.

Greenways promoted at Fitur fair

In January, EGWA participated in a workshop on "Cycling and greenways" held at the International Tourism Trade Fair (Fitur) in Madrid.

Speakers demonstrated the clear and positive impact that cycle tourism has on local economies and the great appeal of greenways for their development.

A noteworthy participant was Antonella Correra, from the DG GROWTH of the European Commission, who described the support given by the Commission to active tourism and its firm commitment to cycle tourism and greenways. Correra also referred to the various financing schemes that can benefit such projects, included in the "European Funds 2014-20 Guide for the Tourism Industry".

Pan-European initiatives were the focus for much of the workshop. Director of EGWA, Mercedes Muñoz, emphasized the great suitability of greenways for sports tourism, nature tourism and for "senior" tourism; she said all are important niche markets with a high potential for growth. Carmen Aycart, Greenways Manager at the Spanish Railways Foundation (FFE) and General Secretary of EGWA, presented a recent report that estimates the financial impact of cycling in Europe to be €44,000 million. Jesus Freire of the European Cyclists' Federation (ECF) presented the EuroVelo project which aims to create 70,000km of cycle paths across 15 European routes; he referred in particular to the three routes that cross Spain. Whilst the creation, consolidation and marketing of greenways as tourism products were described by Arantxa Hernandez from FFE, Project Co-ordinator of the Greenways Product project, a recently completed initiative funded by the EU and in which EGWA participated.

Examples of national projects were also presented by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment and some of the Spanish regions that are most committed to this type of tourism such as Andalusia, the Basque Country and the Balearic Islands; private tour operators also participated.

This fascinating workshop was organised by FFE in collaboration with EGWA member Basquetour (Basque Tourism Agency), and Andalusia’s Department of Public Works and Housing, and attended by about 80 representatives from the public and private sector.

See presentations here

EGWA becomes a partner in “The Meuse by bike” project

In January, the 30 organisations co-ordinating the "Meuse by bike - Maasfietroute" signed a partnership agreement to promote this cross-border cycle route extending nearly 1000km between France, Belgium and the Netherlands. A budget of €69,000 for 2015 will enable the creation of a website, brochures and maps, and also be used to monitor the infrastructure and services.

The Meuse cycle route is now open along almost its entire length, with off-road sections accounting for between 30 and 75% depending on the region. The aim is to ensure a fully developed route within three years, after improvements have been made at a few points and uninterrupted signage has been installed.

EGWA joined the project through Gilbert Perrin, who is a co-signatory of the co-operation agreement as President of EGWA but also as a technical advisor and member of the infrastructure working group from the Belgian association Chemins du Rail, also an EGWA member.

EGWA’s Gilbert Perrin signing the “Meuse by bike" co-operation agreement on the left and all co-signatories on the right.

Sustrans celebrates the 20th anniversary of the National Cycle Network 

EGWA member Sustrans started life in 1977 as a small Bristol charity with a vision to improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists in the city. It created one of the very first greenways in the UK, along a disused railway line between Bristol and Bath, and by the early 90s had developed routes all over the country… but they weren’t linked together.

Fortunately, in 1995, Sustrans won its first major funding - from the Millennium Commission of the National Lottery - to develop the first 8,000km of the National Cycle Network. With a National Lottery award of £43.5 million, the charity was able to kick-start a revolution to make walking and cycling more accessible to all, and that wonderful vision of a walking and cycling network across the UK soon became a reality.

Twenty years later the Network is over 22,500km long (about one third of this is on greenways and other traffic-free paths) and with every year it extends deeper and deeper into the heart of communities; more than 55% of the UK population now live within a mile of their nearest route and usage figures indicate that it is really touching people’s lives. In 2013, a record 748 million active journeys were made on the Network by 4.8 million people of all ages and abilities.

There’s still a long way to go to fully realize Sustrans’ vision of people choosing to travel in ways that benefit their health and the environment. That is why the charity is campaigning hard for government commitment and investment for creating safe walking and cycling routes; by 2020 Sustrans would like to see four out of five journeys under five miles being made on foot, by bike or public transport.

To this end, as well as co-ordinating the development of the Network, Sustrans has been busy working in schools, universities, workplaces and communities up and down the UK to give people the skills, information and confidence to walk and cycle more. For example, it has worked with 260,000 households to date, providing tailor-made travel advice, and on average seen a 11% reduction in car use, 15% increase in walking and 39% increase in cycling.

Greener Greenways
Besides acting as thoroughfares for a huge number of people
getting from A to B each day, saving tonnes of CO₂ (425,304 in 2013), the Network’s greenways are home to many species of flora and fauna. With the help of volunteer wildlife champions, Sustrans is assessing this biodiversity on a number of routes so that habitats can be preserved and improved, and even more species are encouraged to set up home on these green corridors.
A summer of celebration
So 2015 is going to be a celebration of the huge progress the National Cycle Network has made from small beginnings. Walkers and cyclists can look forward to a fantastic programme of events, including volunteer-led walks and rides, challenge rides, a vote to discover the UK’s favourite route, parties on the path and more. Please come and join us! 

As a fitting tribute to this wonderful Network in its 20th anniversary year, Sustrans has published an inspiring and informative guidebook.

Sustrans’ Traffic-Free Cycle Rides brings together a selection of the finest walking and cycling routes across the UK to help you plan a great day out on the National Cycle Network. Offering a unique glimpse into the UK’s remarkable landscapes, history, culture and architecture, the rides range from remote mountain tracks to blustery coastal promenades and elegant city-centre paths. Fully illustrated with maps and photos, this ultimate guide also features useful local information to plan your trip: cycle-friendly accommodation, fuel stops, cycle hire centres, route grading (from easy to challenging), suggestions for extending your ride and more.

Order your copy today to get the most out of your cycling trips around the UK. Price £15.99

Great Southern Trail to become more cycle-friendly 

The developed 40km section of the Great Southern Trail (GST) greenway, between Rathkeale and Abbeyfeale, is being made more cycle-friendly thanks to investment of almost €100,000 by the Irish Government. These funds will be used by the local administration, Limerick City & County Council, to provide bike stands, replace gated crossings with cattle grids and to erect additional route signage. This signage will incorporate the Irish language version of the EuroVelo logo and the GST is the first greenway in Ireland to use it.

A 50km extension to the GST, along the old railway, awaits development in the adjoining administrative area of County Kerry where objectors have delayed the continuation of the greenway to the towns of Listowel, Tralee and the Atlantic port of Fenit. However, the railway company, CIÉ, is in the process of transferring ownership of the line to Kerry County Council and a start has been made on the conversion of a 2km section of old railway into a greenway in Tralee.

A great new section of greenway takes shape in Tralee with the installation of a bridge, wall and landscaping whilst the full extension of the GST is negotiated.

Turespaña-FFE convention to promote greenways abroad (2015-2016)

In January, Turespaña, the Spanish Agency for Tourism, and FFE signed an agreement to develop joint tourism marketing activities to improve the positioning and marketing of the “Greenways” tourism product abroad in 2015-2016. This renews a previous collaboration agreement between the two organisations that was in force in 2013.

The agreement provides a framework for market research initiatives and the exchange of material content and information between Turespaña and FFE. Marketing activities contemplated in the agreement, such as attending trade fairs, arranging exchanges with travel agents and tour operators, media engagement, and communication with final consumers, are of particular relevance to the promotion and commercialisation of greenway tourism products.

The priority markets for these initiatives include France, the UK, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, the Nordic Countries, Italy, the USA and Canada.

The General Director of Turespaña, Marta Blanco, and Managing Director of FFE, Juan Pedro Pastor, at the signing of the co-operation agreement.

Cyclists enjoying the new extension to the Plazaola Greenway.

Development of the Plazaola Greenway continues apace

A further 4km of old railway track has recently been recovered along the Plazaola Greenway resulting in a trail that now covers 54km (32km in Navarre and 22km in Gipuzkoa province). The work was carried out by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, with a budget of around €275,000, and promoted by the Plazaola Tourism Consortium, an EGWA member.

This new stretch around Mugiro is the junction section between the old Lekunberri and Imotz tracks and extends the greenway to Arakil and Irurtzun . The next objective in the greenway recovery programme involves the 20km to Pamplona; the Plazaola consortium is already working towards this.

Since its creation in 1994, the Plazaola Tourism Consortium has been promoting the recovery of the old railway as well as this beautiful area and its products, thus creating an attractive infrastructure and tourism offer based on the greenway.

Nantes to host Velo-city 2015, 2-5 June 2015

Situated at the crossroads of EuroVelo  routes 1 and 6, two major cycle-tourism routes, and fifth in the world ranking of "bike-friendly" cities, Nantes was  selected to host the conference because of its investment in cycling  infrastructure and services. This will be the first time that a city of less than one million inhabitants has hosted the Velo-city event.

The Nantes conference will seek to meet four key objectives:
  • Create a replicable model dedicated to regional cities
  • Build on the strengths and weaknesses of the Nantes experience and other French cities
  • Reach out to the world
  • Create a future inspired by cycling.
European Greenways Associaton (EGWA) members from France, Club de Villes Cyclables, and the French Departments and Regions’ Cycling Association (DRC), are co-organising this major European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) event that is also supported by Inter-ministerial Coordination for the Development of Cycle Use in France, an associated member.

Appointed as an ambassador for Velo-city Nantes 2015, EGWA will be represented at this key event to promote greenways as the best infrastructures for cycling, for daily mobility and sustainable tourism, for all ages and abilities all year round.
We’d like to encourage as many members as possible to join us in Nantes. We look forward to seeing you there!

For further information, programme and registration visit: 

Join the RayonNANTES bike ride from Nantes to Paris, 6-14 June 2015 

At the end of Velo-city Nantes 2015, the “RayonNantes” bike ride will take place, following the Loire à Vélo route from Nantes to Angers, La Vélo Francette route through the Valley of Mayenne and finally La Véloscénie from Domfront to Paris.

The ride is being organised by The French Association for the Promotion of Cycle Routes and Greenways (AF3V) (Ile-de-France regional delegation) and other partners to link two major international events of the year: Velo-city Nantes 2015 in June, and the United Nations COP 21 Climate Change Conference in Paris in December.

It will be a wonderful cycling festival, providing the opportunity to celebrate the pleasure of two wheels, particularly on 7 June at Angers-Laval and 14 June in Paris-Versailles. For Jean Pierre Jonchère, regional delegate from AF3V Ile-de-France, this ride has the big advantage of being largely on greenways: between Nantes and Angers on the Loire à Vélo route, then on the towpath of the Mayenne and finally from Alençon to Condé sur Huisnes on a former railway line.

For more information visit:

New cycling and pedestrian bridge unveiled in Carnikava municipality

On 18 November, 2014 – Latvia’s Restoration of Independence Day - a brand new cycling and pedestrian bridge was opened in Carnikava municipality, just 15 km from the capital, Riga. 220m long and 4m wide, the new structure bridges the River Gauja, and will be used for cycling and walking only. The adjoining cycle paths extend the bridge by more than 1km.

The new bridge will be an integral part of EuroVelo route 13 in Latvia when works are complete. The local authority has finished reconstruction of the river dam on one side of the river, and work will begin on reconstructing it on the other side soon. When complete, the bridge and paths on both sides of the river will be part of 7km of greenway.

In May, an international cycling workshop took place in Riga and Carnikava, with prominent local and international stakeholders taking part. Organised by Vidzeme Tourism Association, the event offered the opportunity to cycle in Carnikava municipality and over the new bridge.

The opening of Carnikava’s new walking and cycling bridge last November.

Quebec’s Route Verte at risk
The Ministry of Transport’s withdrawal of maintenance funding for Route Verte in Quebec leaves this cycle network under threat.

 "The European Greenways Association wishes to express its strong support for all initiatives that aim to encourage cycling, both for daily mobility and for recreation and tourism. On this last point, apart from the well-known benefits of cycling to public health and the environment, all studies, national or European (e.g. such as that conducted by the European Parliament in 2012), show the important economic impact of cycle tourism. But a cycling network only flourishes if it is maintained, cleaned, signed, surfaced properly and so forth.

Experience shows that it is very uncertain to assume maintenance of a network of national importance by local communities whose concerns and resources can be extremely variable; a national network must maintain both its reputation and appeal to the foreign visitor through global monitoring and maintenance. Without wishing to interfere in the affairs of the Government of Quebec in any way, the European Greenways Association would point out that it fully shares the concerns of Vélo Québec in this area."

New EGWA member

We would like to extend the warmest welcome to new EGWA member:

 Romantischer Rhein Tourismus GmbH (from Germany)
The main objectives of the Association Européenne des Voies Vertes - European Greenways Association - Asociación Europea de Vías Verdes , founded in 1998, are to make an inventory of, promote and encourage infrastructures referred to as greenways
Copyright © 2015 Association Européenne des Voies Vertes - European Greenways Association - Asociación Europea de Vías Verdes 
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