Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, has called on the government to provide a ‘sustained funding stream’ for cycling and walking during an evidence session with the Transport Select Committee in Manchester.
Alongside Olympic cycling champion, Chris Boardman, who also serves as Manchester’s Cycling and Walker Commissioner, the mayor said that cycling and walking to be a given a similar status by the government as the investment in roads.
Asking for cycling and walking to be given the same status by the Department for Transport as roads investment, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Successive Governments have treated cycling and walking as an afterthought. This cannot continue at a time when we’ve got congested roads, polluted air and high levels of physical inactivity.
“Greater Manchester made the bold decision to spend £160 million on cycling and walking to kick-start our plans for the UK’s largest cycling and walking network. There is a huge appetite to deliver these plans but we now need Government to show the same ambition and put in place a consistent national funding stream for cycling and walking.”
Currently, around 1% of the Department for Transport’s budget is allocated to cycling and walking.
In June last year, Greater Manchester unveiled a £28m cycling network, called ‘Beeline’ routes. Many students at the University of Manchester use the cycle lanes separated from the motor traffic to get to university, although there have been reports of students being cut off by buses that have overtaken them and proceeded to stop to pick up passengers.
The Mayor and the Commissioner also told the Committee that there should be a government requirement that, where possible, cycling and walking infrastructure is included as part of any new transport infrastructure, such as the building of new roads or junctions.
Chris Boardman said: “This isn’t about people riding bikes, it’s about creating healthier, better places to live, more economically-robust areas, revitalising town centres, and giving people a real and attractive alternative to driving. By the government’s own calculations, money invested in enabling people to cycle and walk is the most efficient transport spend that a nation can make. I just don’t understand why the penny hasn’t dropped yet.”