Green Party NI representatives for East Belfast and North Down have welcomed the launch of a public consultation on walking, wheeling and cycling routes from Sydenham to Holywood.

Rachel Woods, Green Party NI MLA for North Down, said: “As Northern Ireland aims for net-zero emission by 2050, investment in active travel will only become more important. The NI Executive only spends around £2 per person on active travel, compared to £66 per head of population in the Republic of Ireland.

“Increased use of active travel is key to tackling the climate and air pollution crisis, but the five Executive parties have repeatedly failed to prioritise investment in cycling infrastructure over unsustainable roadbuilding.”

Cllr Brian Smyth, the Green Party NI candidate for East Belfast said: “New active travel initiatives are very welcome. As well as the environmental positives of cycling infrastructure, taking cars off our roads has a big public health impact. Currently, air pollution in Northern Ireland causes about 800 early deaths annually. Tackling our air pollution crisis should be a priority issue for the Executive.

“New pedestrian and cycling options are being considered include a path along the railway from Sydenham through Holywood Exchange, a path along Holywood Road through Holywood Exchange, or upgrades to the cycling route alongside the Sydenham bypass. I would encourage members of the public to respond to the consultation to ensure that their views are heard.”

The consultation is available to complete here, and is open until 1 April.