Northern Ireland news

Plans launched for a Belfast cycling network

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has launched plans for the Belfast Cycling Network

MORE than 50 cycling schemes, including the development of safe routes, have been planned as part of a Belfast cycling network.

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon yesterday launched plans for the network which aims to encourage more people to cycle and walk.

The network is expected to cost around £100 million over 10 years.

Under the plans, cycling routes could link Botanic Gardens with the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Other routes could be built from the new Belfast Transport Hub to Boucher Road and Finaghy Road North.

Ms Mallon said the shift to environmentally-friendly travel is particularly important in the midst of the climate emergency.

"By creating a network of safe cycling infrastructure over the next ten years we can continue to make the city better for walking and wheeling, improve public transport while encouraging more people to consider cycling as a mode of transport and reduce the dominance of motor vehicles throughout the city," she said.

She said the plan is not a static one.

"It should not be the limits of our ambition, but the framework within which our ambitions for active travel can grow," she said.

Caroline Bloomfield, Northern Ireland director of walking and cycling charity Sustrans, said she hoped the plan will encourage more people to walk and cycle in Belfast.

"As well as creating more pleasant neighbourhoods, this will help us reach net zero emissions, reduce air pollution and enable healthier lifestyles," she said.

"We are pleased to see that a dedicated project team is being established alongside a high-level programme board and now call upon the department to expedite delivery and ensure that sufficient budget is made available to enable the Belfast cycling network to be realised."

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