Volunteers planting trees at the Ardwick Stepping Stones project

Our plan for nature recovery

Supporting Nature Recovery across Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester Combined Authority is developing a Local Nature Recovery Strategy for the city-region. The strategy will set out our vision for a greener Greater Manchester, where space for nature to flourish is grown and enhanced, more people can access and enjoy the natural environment, and the many benefits nature brings are increased for everyone – from supporting mental and physical wellbeing to creating leisure space and supporting biodiversity.

Our Local Nature Recovery Strategy will capture ambitions for nature from people across the city-region, alongside reflecting existing key priorities for nature recovery including:

  • Managing our land for people, nature and our economy, including planting 1m trees by 2024
  • Managing our water and its environment to improve nature and water quality for all
  • Achieving a net gain in biodiversity for new development to help nature recover
  • Increasing investment in our natural environment for people, business and nature
  • Improving access to our natural environment for a wide range of communities and visitors

Why is this strategy needed?

Like the rest of the country, Greater Manchester faces closely linked climate and biodiversity emergencies, with the abundance and diversity of many of our key species now in long term decline. This means that our natural environment is becoming less resilient and less able to provide us with the benefits we often take for granted. This includes defence against climate change and the extreme weather that we are already experiencing, as our natural environment helps reduce flood risk, reduce the impact of heatwaves in urban areas, and store carbon that would otherwise contribute to global warming.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, declared a biodiversity emergency in the city-region in March 2022, acknowledging – both locally and nationally – that we need to do more to support the recovery of nature and increase the benefits it provides to our people and our economy.

How will the strategy be developed and what will it cover?

Working with stakeholders from across the city-region, the new strategy will go beyond simply showing how and where we will bring nature back into Greater Manchester – it will set out a blueprint for a more liveable city-region, with fairer access to green space for all. It will identify areas already important for nature and people, alongside pinpointing opportunities to create a new network for nature that connects people to green spaces across the city-region.

What is being done already to help nature recover?

We are already seeing green shoots around Greater Manchester, with several initiatives underway to boost nature recovery including:

  • The declaration of a new National Nature Reserve, Pennington Flashes, in Wigan and Leigh.
  • The creation of Mayfield, Manchester’s first new park in 100 years.
  • The development of the Eden building in Salford, which features Europe's largest green wall.
  • The £2.6m Green Spaces Fund, which has supported 52 community-led projects to date.
  • The opening of the National Trust’s Castlefield Viaduct, which has transformed the historic viaduct into a park in the sky.
  • Undertaking surveys of all the main rivers and surrounding areas within the River Irwell catchment to understand the impact of invasive, non-native species and propose measures to tackle them.

How can you get involved?

To help establish how we should be acting on nature recovery, we have launched a call for evidence to ensure we understand the state of nature across the city-region. 

We are collecting evidence on:

  • Species 
  • Peoples’ access to nature and engagement with nature
  • Land use or land cover changes (such as areas of habitat)
  • Protected and designated sites (such as Nature Reserves)
  • River or water bodies 
  • Benefits from nature (such as health and wellbeing or carbon storage)

If your organisation or group can provide insights like research, studies, surveys covering Greater Manchester or one of its districts you think we should include, please submit this to naturerecovery@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk by 18 August 2023.

Keep up to date on progress as our Local Nature Recovery Strategy is developed by subscribing to our Green City newsletter