Award of £4m to develop "nature-based solutions" to Manchester's climate threats

A €4.56m (£3.9m) EU award is intended to kick-start investment leading to a 10% increase in Greater Manchester's green infrastructure, in order to address the impacts of a changing climate on the region.

Image: Eneko Bidegain (CC BY 2.0)
Image: Eneko Bidegain (CC BY 2.0)

Funded from the EU's Urban Innovation Actions initiative, the IGNITION (Innovative financinG aNd delIvery of naTural clImate sOlutioNs in Greater Manchester) programme will run for up to three years.

Overseen by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), it is supported by 11 partner organisations, including the Environment Agency, the RHS and the City of Trees community forest, which will identify sites within Greater Manchester where natural capital projects can best manage risks of flood and overheating.

These smaller individual schemes will then be brought together into larger investible packages of projects "of at least £10m", so making them attractive to private investors, in order to achieve a 10% increase in green infrastructure in the area by 2038.

City of Trees planning manager Pete Stringer said: "City of Trees is really excited to be part of this pioneering project that will explore how the use of trees and green infrastructure in managing surface water can be mainstreamed to help make Greater Manchester more resilient to flooding."

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: "We are serious about our green ambitions in Greater Manchester – to become carbon neutral by 2038 and one of the world's leading green city-regions.

"This project will help us encourage widespread use of innovative, nature-based solutions such as green roofs and walls to cool our city-region down, manage water and reduce flooding, while also reducing our carbon output, and improving our air quality. The funding will also help us to find ways to accelerate and finance their deployment."

Environment Agency chair Emma Howard Boyd added: "By generating a return while greening Manchester, the project could provide a model for investors around the world that would help green finance for urban infrastructure to go mainstream."

A first phase of projects will be identified by October 2019, with funding models and finance mechanism to deliver them in place by April 2020.

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