Manchester needs £1.5bn for cycling transformation

Chris Boardman has claimed that Greater Manchester needs £1.5 billion to help reach its ambition of transforming into a world class region for cycling and walking.

Appointed in the summer as Greater Manchester’s first Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Boardman’s report, Made to Move, features ambitious targets to improve cycling and walking rates in a bid to improve air quality as part of the Mayor’s green city agenda.

The 15-point plan includes a 2018 Greater Manchester-wide walking and cycling infrastructure plan as well as an established, ring-fenced £1.5 billion infrastructure fund for walking and cycling to cover the next ten years, matching the spend on cycling and walking in London and Oslo.

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. The Mayor of Greater Manchester tasked me with thinking creatively, challenging assumptions and pushing the boundaries of what should be possible. My proposals, the product of many months of work, will ease congestion on our overcrowded roads, improve our general health and wellbeing 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.”

Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester Mayor, said: “When I appointed Chris, I asked him to produce a bold and challenging plan to get people cycling and walking. This report more than meets the test set, and together with Greater Manchester’s 10 council leaders, we are ready to rise to the challenge. It is now urgent, with Greater Manchester being asked to produce plans to tackle illegal air pollution.

“Chris has identified the need for substantial investment in our cycling infrastructure and in response, 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. Investing in cycling and walking will not only improve the air that we breathe, it will help tackle our crippling congestion problem and improve our health, well-being and environment.”