Jeff Smith, MP for Manchester Withington, has backed an ambitious £1.5 billion plan to transform Greater Manchester into a world-class region for cycling and walking.
His support comes after Greater Manchester’s first Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman MBE, appointed by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, presented his ‘Made to Move’ report at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group in Westminster on January 23.
Made to Move sets out how Greater Manchester intends to lead the way in increasing levels of cycling and walking. The report, which was initially presented to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) by Chris in December, outlines how cycling and walking can help improve air quality, tackle congestion and boost public health and wellbeing across the region.
The 15-point plan includes proposals to establish a ring-fenced, 10-year, £1.5 billion infrastructure fund for walking and cycling and to publish a detailed 2018 Greater Manchester-wide walking and cycling infrastructure plan. This would bring Greater Manchester’s spend on cycling and walking in line with other major conurbations, including London and Oslo.
Chris’s proposals – which he suggests would take Greater Manchester to 2050 – build on research indicating that a significant majority of Greater Manchester residents (77%) are in favour of more protected cycle lanes, even if it means less road space for other road traffic.
‘Bike Life Greater Manchester 2017’, published in November 2017 by sustainable travel charity Sustrans and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), also identified that almost seven in 10 people say Greater Manchester would be a better place to live and work if more people cycled.
Jeff said: “I am impressed by the ambitious plans in Chris' Made to Move report, which will hopefully encourage more people to walk and cycle across south Manchester.
“Obviously, his plans will not be implemented overnight but this is a great start. I’m confident that this level of investment in the long term will help improve the health, wellbeing and environment for people across Manchester.
Chris Boardman said: “There’s no doubt that Made to Move is an incredibly ambitious but wholly deliverable plan to get Greater Manchester moving by bike and walking, and I’m really pleased that Jeff is supporting it.
“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 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.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, said: “This is a bold and ambitious plan to get people cycling and walking.
“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, wellbeing and environment.”
To read and download the Made to Move report, visit the GMCA website.