Devolution for Greater Manchester a real chance to make cycling the natural choice for local journeys

Devolution for Greater Manchester a real chance to make cycling the natural choice for local journeys

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Thursday’s announcement by the Chancellor on city devolution for Manchester will allow the elected Mayor to plan transport strategically across the city region.

The powers over transport will be similar to that in London which has now started a 10-year investment in cycling of nearly £1 billion on new cycle-superhighways, ‘mini-Hollands’ and a network of Quietways.

The plans to give English cities powers over transport, planning and policing were set out by George Osborne in his first post-election speech. Greater Manchester will elect a mayor in two years and take on these powers with other cities expected to follow suit.

As part of the devolution plan, only cities that elected their own mayor would be given control of local transport, housing, skills and healthcare. A Cities Devolution Bill will be in the Queen's Speech later this month.

British Cycling campaigns manager, Martin Key said:

“Our experience in London shows that, when big transport and infrastructure decisions are devolved to local level, more people cycle. The evidence is clear – in London, the number of cycling journeys has more than doubled in the last decade.

"Now the power to make Greater Manchester more active by putting cycling at the heart of the region’s transport plans will be in local hands.

"We have a real chance to make cycling the natural choice for local journeys across the region. More than two people an hour in Greater Manchester are admitted to hospital for being severely overweight – active travel is the best and most affordable way to reduce this huge cost to the NHS.

"With transport a key barrier for people in accessing jobs and services, cycling is the best choice to transform the mobility of our poorest communities. Cycling is the logical choice for urban transport as it connects people around the city in a safe, clean and healthy way.”