Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, and Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman, met with the Dutch ambassador, Simon Smits, to discuss the city-region’s ambitious transport plans for encouraging more journeys by bike and on foot.
A key focus of the meeting was on the future of transport in the region and Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking plans. The 1,800 mile Bee Network intends to increase daily walking trips in the city-region by a third and ‘double and double again’ cycling journeys by 2025.
Ambassador Smits was hosted at a TfGM workshop around sustainable travel, showcasing Greater Manchester’s transport plan to the business community, and share learnings from the Netherlands, where cycling accounts for a third of daily trips under 7.5 km (4.66 miles).
Andy Burnham said:
The Netherlands has without doubt set an example when it comes to creating cycle-friendly towns and cities, and today has been a chance for us to learn from the Dutch experience and share our own vision for an integrated transport network throughout Greater Manchester.
“This isn’t just about switching from cars to bikes and cutting harmful emissions – it’s also about what we want our towns and cities to look like, and how we look after our public spaces. It’s a conversation that we need to be having, and Greater Manchester should be at the forefront.”
Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman said:
The Dutch are known for their commitment to active travel and they boast some of the biggest cycling cities in the world. We know that truly normalising cycling and walking will take time; as well as infrastructure, a complete culture shift is needed, so having strong allies and insight from countries that have already seen success, is invaluable. The Ambassador has offered key learnings that we can apply to our programme here in Manchester and has given really positive feedback on our plans and ambition which is very encouraging.”
Simon Smits, Dutch Ambassador to the UK:
The UK has huge ambitions when it comes to zero emission transport and so does the Netherlands. We invest a lot in the electrification of transport, both public and private, and in safe, comfortable and attractive cycling infrastructure. The benefits of cycling are immense: it improves people’s health and it is a clean mode of transport – no air pollution and no use of fossil fuels. I am happy to bring organisations and businesses in the Greater Manchester area in contact with Dutch cycling experts. The Dutch are keen to share their knowledge and experience accumulated over decades of cycling to help improve the cycling infrastructure in this part of the UK. Dutch city planners and traffic experts have a wealth of expertise on encouraging cycling and making cities safer for cyclists, not just within cities but also between cities.”