The Bee Network initiative – a joined-up cycling and walking network in Greater Manchester – could provide a national blueprint for improving the nation's health, while also reducing congestion and air pollution.
That is the message from Manchester mayor Andy Burnham in a report outlining the benefits of the "revolutionary" network, which would provide 1,800 miles of protected space for cycling and walking throughout the region.
Commissioned by Burnham, Transport for Greater Manchester and Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the Change a region to change a nation report states that the Bee Network could increase journeys on foot or by bike by 2.5m a day, and save the NHS £6.73bn by improving people’s health.
"We need the government to back us with sustained funding – and if they do so, they will be helping to create a model that can be replicated across the rest of the country," Burnham said.
"Put simply, if they help us change our city-region, we can help change the country."