Published: Tuesday, 28th Jan 2020

The schemes are part of the 1,800 Bee Network proposal which will create 2.5 million daily active trips and £6 billion in benefits across Greater Manchester.

Bee network 2020The Mayor of Greater Manchester and the Cycling and Walking Commissioner are calling on Government to back ground-breaking plans for UK’s largest walking and cycling network, cutting congestion and air pollution across the city-region and helping people make 2.5 million journeys every day on foot or by bike.

Andy Burnham and Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman are today announcing the publication of a new report, titled ‘Change a Region to Change a Nation’, which will be delivered to Westminster next month to make the case for the government backing needed to deliver the wide-ranging plans.

The foundation of the plan is the Bee Network, which will provide 1,800 miles of protected space for cycling and walking and has seen over 80 further schemes approved for development. Two of these schemes come from Bolton and amount to £14.8m. The schemes will develop the network of Beeways in the Astley Bridge and Crompton, and Westhoughton areas, enabling a transformative level of journeys to be made on foot or by bike.

The schemes will provide walking and cycling access to five secondary schools, 15 primary schools and three major local shopping streets as well as opening up several neighbourhoods. Combined, these measures will allow children to walk or ride to school safely - giving people the option to leave the car at home.

The report, jointly commissioned by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the Mayor, details the impact that Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking network is projected to have over the next 10 years, including:

  • A 350% increase in daily cycling trips, from 100,000 to 450,000
  • An increase in daily walking trips by a third, from 1,480,000 to 2,050,000

It is also projected that the change in travel culture will bring huge benefits to the city-region in several key areas, including:

  • Air quality: Up to 130,000 fewer daily private car and taxi trips (735,000 less vehicle kilometres driven)
  • Congestion: Reduce traffic by as much as 10% and improve some journey times by up to 50%
  • Health: A £6.73 billion boost by improving the city-region’s health and reducing the cost to the NHS

Including these projects, Bolton has four schemes in development, which will be delivered as part of the Bee Network over the next ten years.

Schemes already in development include a quiet route along Chorley Old Road, which will see the development of an active neighbourhood which prioritises people travelling on foot or bike over motor vehicles.

There are also plans for a number of improvements to the town centre and surrounding areas, which are due to be shared with the public in early Spring.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Greater Manchester is creating the blueprint for a real culture change in the way people travel.

“Our city-region’s 10 districts have been working on these plans since 2017 and crucially, residents have helped to develop them, based on what they want their neighbourhoods to look like.

“Now we have a world-class plan and we know how to deliver it, but we cannot do it alone. We need the Government to back us with sustained funding over the next ten years to enable us to complete the Bee Network.  If they do so they will be helping create a model that can be replicated across the rest of the country.
“Put simply, if they help us change our city-region, we can help change the country too.”

Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester, Chris Boardman, said: “With one in three car journeys in Greater Manchester being less than 1 kilometre, it’s clear we have to change. It’s impacting our air, our health, and the place we’re expecting our children to grow up, get on and grow old.

“All 10 Greater Manchester councils have taken on this challenge and they’ve already started transforming ambition into action. But without guaranteed government investment, we are hamstrung. To revolutionise travel across a whole city region we’re asking for the same financial backing over a ten-year period as it’s costing for a single junction improvement scheme in Bedford. I know which will return the best investment – not only for our city-region but the nation as a whole.” 

As a council, we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint, limiting air pollution and helping people lead healthier lives.

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Cllr Stuart Haslam, added: “This is great news for all Bolton residents as we aim to make walking and cycling safer and more desirable travel options.

“As a council, we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint, limiting air pollution and helping people lead healthier lives.

“These two new schemes will help us achieve this by reducing car emissions while also encouraging everyone to be more active. All schemes being developed will be shared with residents for their feedback.”

The full report and more information about the Bee Network is available online.