An Olympic gold medallist is set to get Greater Manchester moving as the city region’s first ever Cycling and Walking Commissioner.

Chris Boardman, MBE, has today  been appointed by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to boost cycling and walking in Greater Manchester, as pledged in Andy’s manifesto.

The announcement comes as the Mayor of Greater Manchester received and endorsed the four-year plan to get ‘Greater Manchester Moving’. He has committed his leadership to the ambitious plan, as part of a collaborative approach with Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership and Sport England.

The Cycling and Walking Commissioner will act as the leading advocate for cycling and walking in Greater Manchester, working with the Mayor and Transport for Greater Manchester to secure the necessary resources to develop and deliver cycling-related activity and programmes. As well as having senior oversight of the development of policy and investment plans for cycling.

He will work across Greater Manchester’s public, private and voluntary institutions to improve safety and conditions for cycling. He will also publicly represent cycling, walking and increasing activity levels in Greater Manchester to raise their profile and promote and enable equality of opportunities across communities.

The appointment of the Cycling and Walking Commissioner role will be announced at the launch event of the Greater Manchester Moving plan, held in Exchange Street from 1pm to 4pm on Friday, July 28.

Chris will play a key role in achieving the ambitions set out in the Greater Manchester Moving initiative. He said: “My first priority will be to pull together all the people who need to be involved in making cycling and walking viable, attractive and important part of the transport network in Greater Manchester.

“Cycling isn’t currently a big part of how people get around in the region but surveys have showed there is real desire to ride more, if we create an attractive, safe environment. There’s a passion from all branches of local government and health to make it happen too but we’re not going to enforce change – we will take people along with us.

“With my background in sport, I’m a big fan of setting targets, being measured and being held accountable for results. I’m going to spend several weeks talking to people to understand the landscape for cycling in Greater Manchester before setting a number of goals we want to achieve and timescales – and you can rest assured that they’ll be ambitious.”

This will be backed up by a new and stretching target, running over the next four years. The aim is to double the rate of past improvements and achieve the goal of having 75 per cent of people living in Greater Manchester active or fairly active by 2025.

38 per cent of people living in the city region are not active enough to benefit their health. The cost of this inactivity to health services in Greater Manchester is estimated to be £26 million per year.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “I am a big believer in physical activity because it has a positive impact on both physical and mental health. Going from inactivity to activity is often one of the easiest and most positive lifestyle changes people can make. Having taken that step, people are then more likely to make other changes – be that in smoking, drinking or diet.

“We need to encourage the people in our city region to move more, to cycle and walk and maximise the contribution to being a healthy society.

“I want Greater Manchester to be the sport and physical activity capital of the world.”


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