TAMESIDE is set to benefit from a transformational series of walking and cycling network improvements.
The Mayor's Challenge Fund (MCF) has given approval in principle to Tameside Council's request for 12 schemes with an ask of £14 million, which will now be developed further and consulted on where appropriate.
They include new and extended cycle lanes, new crossings and junction alterations to make travelling around Tameside safer and more attractive.
The schemes aim to make walking and cycling an easier and safer option, giving people the chance to change the way they travel.
Walking and cycling is not only better for health but also reduces congestion and improves air quality.
However, 30% of trips under 1km in Greater Manchester are made by car, the equivalent of 15 minutes walking or four minutes cycling.
In Tameside it's estimated that we spend £26 million per annum in avoidable costs to the health system due to treating people for illnesses that could have been prevented if people were more physically active.
The schemes are expected to cost in the region of £14 million, with £11 million approved in principle from the MCF and £3 million to be identified from other match funding sources.
Tameside Council Executive Leader Councillor Brenda Warrington said: "We're delighted to have been given the green light to progress these schemes, which will make cycling and walking around Tameside easier and safer.
"Ditching the car to cycle or walk short journeys not only helps the environment but is healthier and saves the NHS money, so let's make walking and cycling the first choice."
Greater Manchester Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman, said: "More people travelling on foot or by bike is a by-product of creating better places to live, work and socialise. Tameside has put together some strong plans that will be well used by thousands of residents each year and we are working closely with the council to make them a reality."
The MCF supports The Bee Network, which is a proposal for the UK's largest joined up cycling and walking network, to make cycling and walking the natural choice for shorter journeys across the whole of Greater Manchester.
So far, £160 million has been made available to deliver schemes across Greater Manchester. The aim is to tackle common problems that are being felt right across Britain: an obesity epidemic, air quality issues and streets that are often clogged with motor traffic during peak hours.
Consultation is being planned for the New Year, which will focus not only on developing the schemes in line with public feedback, but also on helping residents gain the skills to cycle confidently and safely, with information to be provided about cycling projects across the borough.
For more information on each scheme visit www.tameside.gov.uk/mcf