IGNITION is a ground-breaking project that aims to develop innovative financing solutions for investment in Greater Manchester’s natural environment. This investment will help to build the city region’s ability to adapt to the increasingly extreme impacts of climate change.

Working with nature, solutions such as rain gardens, street trees, green roofs and walls and development of green spaces can help to tackle socio-environmental challenges including an increase in flooding events, water security, air quality, biodiversity and human health and wellbeing.

This project, backed by €4.5 million from the EU’s Urban Innovation Actions (UIA) initiative, brings together 12 partners from local government, universities, NGOs and business. The aim is to develop the first model of its kind that enables major investment in large-scale environmental projects which can increase climate resilience. By 2038 this will enable an increase in Greater Manchester’s urban green infrastructure coverage by 10% from a 2018 baseline.


Project milestones

The project will run until October 2021 and will hit several milestones along the way:

  • October 2019: Version 1 of the city-scale nature-based solutions project pipeline process will be complete, with phase 1 of deliverable set of projects identified.
  • April 2020: Funding models and finance mechanisms to deliver phase 1 of the Greater Manchester nature-based solutions pipeline will be established.
  • April-October 2021: Greater Manchester governance and delivery frameworks will be set up with the delivery vehicle for phase 1 of pipeline procured and contracts for funding and delivery signed.
  • October 2021: Nature-Based Innovation Centre on the University of Salford campus will be installed and matured in its role as a visible demonstrator and living test lab of the urban green infrastructure approach to combatting climate change.



City of Trees 

Environment Agency  


Manchester City Council 

Royal Horticultural Society

Salford City Council 


United Utilities 

University of Manchester

University of Salford 

Get involved

Email greencity@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk


What is Blue-green infrastructure?

Blue-green infrastructure describes the networks of natural and semi-natural features in urban spaces. They can include street trees, green roofs, rain gardens, private gardens, parks, woodlands, rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and wetlands.

What are nature-based solutions or natural climate solutions?

Nature-based solutions are adaptive measures that include using soil and landscape features and ecosystem services to reduce the effects of climate change and other environmental problems.

What is urban green infrastructure?

The project will be defining urban green infrastructure early on. But, in very broad terms, it includes parks, green spaces, trees, hedges, green building fixtures and rain gardens.

What are the benefits of urban green infrastructure?

Urban GI can have many social, economic and environmental benefits including (subject to the type of GI) increasing climate change adaptation, remediation of air pollutants, benefits to health and wellbeing and increased physical activity, noise reduction, improved building performance (energy), water attenuation and carbon sequestration.

How will the project measure 10% increase in urban green infrastructure?

An early priority for the project is to establish a measure for this.

What are SuDS?

SuDS, or sustainable drainage solutions, are a range of water management structures that link modern drainage processes with the natural water cycle. They take into account flood management, water quality, biodiversity and community use. They typically mimic nature and manage rainfall close to where it falls. They include: rain gardens, swales, permeable paving, wetlands and green roofs.