A MULTI-million pound scheme for three new walking and cycling routes for Bury are announced today ­— as Metro Mayor Andy Burnham calls on the Government to stump up cash to drive it forward.

A £6.8 million scheme will create links from residential and employment areas north of the River Irwell into Radcliffe town centre, as well as the completion of a direct canal route from Bury to Radcliffe.

The Pimhole Neighbourhood Bee Network scheme will develop a network of walking and cycling routes between Pimhole, Bury town centre and the Pilsworth Industrial Estate, including new/upgraded crossing points, 20mph zones, traffic calming and filtered neighbourhood features.

So far, in total Bury has five schemes in development, which will be delivered as part of the Bee Network over the next ten years.

Cllr Alan Quinn, Bury Council’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “These are important schemes which will bring long-term benefits for the environment and for people’s health, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

“The Government has told us that northern towns are vitally important, and they are going to rebalance spending from the south to the north. Meanwhile, 29% of the nation’s transport budget goes to London, but the North West only receives 9 per cent.

“We’re told that austerity is over, so it’s time for no more rhetoric – we need deeds, not words, and the Government now has to commit to giving Bury the investment it needs.”

The foundation of the plan is the Bee Network, which will provide 1,800 miles of protected space for cycling and walking across Greater Manchester and has seen over 80 further schemes approved for development.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester Mr Burnham is 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 .

Together with Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman he will be 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.

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.”