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Call for £1.5bn for walking and cycling in Greater Manchester

Words: Laura Edgar
Cycling / Shutterstock_197046800

Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking commissioner, has recommended that a £1.5 billion infrastructure fund should be established to help deliver walking and cycling infrastructure across the city region.

Following his appointment in July, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham tasked Boardman with producing a report on how to deliver a “step change” in the number of people walking and cycling.

Made to Move outlines a 15-point plan that includes proposals to publish a detailed walking and cycling infrastructure plan for Greater Manchester next year.

Boardman also wants to establish a ring-fenced, 10-year £1.5 billion infrastructure fund, which would start with a short-term Greater Manchester Mayor’s Active Streets Fund aimed at kick-starting delivery for walking and cycling.

He wants to ensure that all forthcoming public realm and infrastructure investments, alongside all related policy programmes, have walking and cycling integrated at the development stage.

According to a statement released alongside the report, the report builds on research that suggests a significant majority of the region’s residents – 77 per cent – are in favour of more protected cycle lanes even if it affects other forms of road traffic.

Boardman said: “There’s no doubt that this is an incredibly ambitious but wholly deliverable plan to get Greater Manchester moving by bike and walking.”

His proposals will “ease congestion on our overcrowded roads, improve our general health and well-being and help us breathe cleaner air in a greener city-region”.

“It will require significant support but the decades of improved living that we, our children and grandchildren will be able enjoy will make it worthwhile.”

In a statement, Burnham didn’t mention the £1.5 billion Boardman has requested, instead saying: “We are aiming to create a challenge fund of around £50 million a year from 2019 to 2021, which will be able to be accessed by our 10 districts if they are building to the required standard and meeting part of the costs. This will go a considerable way towards meeting the required funding challenge and we will provide initial funding next year to get things going.”

Before publication of Boardman’s cycling plans, Burnham announced an overhaul of transport in Greater Manchester.

His plans include: establishing a Mayor’s Strategic Transport Board, which he will chair alongside Sir Richard Leese; introducing contactless bank card payment on Metrolink in late 2018; and ensuring that train operators do more to compensate commuters for poor service.

Made to Move can be found on the Greater Manchester Combined Authority website.

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