Marginal flaps? Ganna’s baggy skinsuit and stacked team car under scrutiny; Bee Network blunder: Andy Burnham says miserly active travel figures “wrong”; Lack of bike storage hinders commute; ITV on Highway Code changes + more on the live blog

Greater Manchester’s Bee Network of cycling and walking routes – once heralded as a “potential national blueprint” for active travel in the UK – has taken a bit of a hit in recent times… Well, that’s if you believe the region’s new strategy document for 2030 (which, according to GM mayor Andy Burnham, you shouldn’t).

Just over two years ago, in January 2020 (ah, those halcyon days), Burnham and the area’s then-cycling and walking commissioner Chris Boardman published a report entitled ‘Change a Region to Change a Nation’, highlighting the Bee Network’s ability to act as a model for others to follow to help tackle the climate emergency, reduce congestion and benefit public health.

According to the report, 1,800 miles of protected space for cyclists and walkers would be implemented over the following decade, resulting in a projected 350 per cent increase in daily cycling trips, from 100,000 to 450,000. Daily walking trips were also expected to rise by a third under the scheme, from 1,480,000 a day to 2,050,000.

But since that report, Boardman has left to take on the role of interim commissioner of Active Travel England, a new body tasked with implementing the government’s Gear Change strategy.

And a new strategy document, released today, appears to show a drastic scaling back of the Bee Network’s ambitions.

According to the Greater Manchester 2030 brochure, 100 kilometers of walking and cycling routes are set to be installed by 2024, a long way short of the original target of 1,800 miles by 2029:

However, as any live blogger knows all too well, typos happen (especially in major regional strategy documents), and Andy Burnham’s press team soon got in touch with Guardian journalist Helen Pidd to clarify that the 100km claim was a simple mistake.

Instead, Burnham says that “the target is to deliver 500 miles of cycling/walking routes by 2024” and that the completion of the entire 1,800 Bee Network by 2029 is still very much on the cards.

You just can’t find a descent editor these days…

Leave a Comment