Where do Greater Manchester Mayoral candidates stand on walking in nature?

GM Day of Action photos

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how important access to green space is. But we know that only 44% of people in Greater Manchester live near a park or green space. The Mayoral elections are our chance to change this. We’ve been calling on candidates in the elections to support a new green walking route in each of Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs.  

There are nine people running for Greater Manchester Mayor. Outlined below are the responses from the main candidates. Presented in alphabetical order, find out what they said: 

Andy Burnham (Labour Party)

In an email to one of our supporters: 

“Protecting, enhancing and investing in our green spaces has been a key part of my first term as Mayor.  The Covid pandemic has shown the importance of green spaces for everyone in Greater Manchester to be able to enjoy. Working with our council leaders, I have radically re-written the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (renamed Places for All) and have reduced the amount of green belt allocated for development by over 60. But it is not possible to meet the Government imposed housing targets for Greater Manchester on brownfield sites alone, despite what other candidates may say.

In addition, by the end of this year we will have built over 100km of walking and cycling infrastructure (the Bee Network), making it safer and more convenient to cycle or walk around our city-region, improving health and reducing congestion and air pollution.  In my manifesto (www.andyformayor.co.uk/manifesto) I have committed to appoint a Local Nature Champion and to create a new ‘Green Spaces Fund’ to give small grants to communities to clean up and improve pocket parks and local green spaces or create new ones where they are needed. Making it easier for people to walk and cycle; investing in and protecting existing green belt and creating new local green spaces; and improving our transport network and air quality are all part of my green agenda if I am re-elected for a second term.”

Laura Evans (Conservative Party)

In an email to one of our supporters: 

“Protecting our environment, preserving our green spaces and developing new green walking spaces, putting people at the heart of any plans and cleaning up our area is an important part of my better plan for Greater Manchester. As Mayor I want to work with Government, not against it, to deliver a better plan for our environment. But the single greatest threat to nature in our local communities is the Mayor’s housebuilding plan for Greater Manchester that would concrete over our green spaces, the GMSF now called "Places for Everyone". I will end that devastating project and work with local communities and councils to deliver the houses we need in a sustainable way. I would see us work to redevelop our town centres, put abandoned sites and derelict buildings to better use – so we can deliver new homes all while protecting the precious parks and woodlands we have.”

Melanie Horrocks (Green Party)

From the GM Walk Ride Hustings:

“Too much walking & cycling infrastructure in GM is "not fit for purpose" because it is not accessible to everyone. Wants "proper bike storage" at transport hubs. Everyone should be able to put bikes on public transport to access green space. Promises to look at replicating Cycle To Work scheme for school children.”

Simon Lepori (Liberal Democrat)

In an email to us:

“I fully support your objectives and want to make walking safe and accessible for all involved.”


Let the candidates know you support new green walking routes

There is still time to let the candidates know that you support six new green walking routes across our capital. Write to them today!

The elections take place on Thursday May 6th. Polls are open between 7am-10pm, and you can find your nearest polling station through the Electoral Commission

If you've heard from any of the other candidates about their views on new green walking routes then let us know at campaigns@ramblers.org.uk