UK officials are increasing their efforts to reduce carbon emissions, with the car industry being a major proving ground. London has trialled car-free days and Manchester could soon become the ‘Amsterdam of the UK’ with the introduction of a new cycling network. Manchester mayor Andy Burnham announced ‘Beelines,’ a network that includes one thousand miles of walking routes and cycling paths.
Beelines will become the biggest joined-up network in the UK, making it similar to the network seen in Amsterdam. Burnham initially said there was an investment of £500 million. This is the first stage of a planned £1.5 billion investment, with £160 million being spent on the project in the first four years. This kind of investment is higher than any other UK city.
Burnham is confident that the network will improve the city. Manchester “has a long history of doing innovative things and our approach to Beelines is no different. I want to make Greater Manchester one of the top 10 places in the world to live and it’s action of this sort which will help to deliver that promise.”
The Beelines announcement followed on from the publication of research carried out by Centre for Cities. The data highlighted that the population of Manchester’s city centre increased by 149% between 2002 and 2015. Manchester is a hub for young professionals and as they are living in the city centre, they have little need for cars. This is especially true if someone is living by public transport routes.
This explains why a large number of new developments in Manchester have no parking provisions. There is a greater focus on amenities that tenants are looking for. With the creation of Beelines, there is a good chance that cars could become less frequent in Manchester city centre. Not only will this reduce congestion, but it will help to lower carbon emissions as well.