Greater Manchester awarded £1.8m to boost environmental recovery and create green jobs

2 February 2021

A total of £1.8 million has been awarded to projects across Greater Manchester to support habitat restoration, protect the environment, and connect people with nature.

The grant is the result of a successful bid to the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund, which was announced earlier this year to support a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The money will be used by a range of partners to deliver projects that create a network for nature across all local authorities in the city-region, and further development of the newly established Greater Manchester Environment Fund (GMEF). It will also create 37 new jobs, including 12 traineeships.

The GMEF has been created to secure and manage funding from public bodies and business, which will then be used to deliver projects that will enhance Greater Manchester’s natural environment.

City of Trees is helping to deliver the Green Recovery Challenge Fund with funding from the programme helping to enhance wildlife and improve access to 14 green spaces in Trafford's Mersey Valleys and Bury's Irwell Valley – working with local residents, councils and partners, including Lancashire Wildlife Trust and The Conservation Volunteers.

The funds will also support the development of City of Trees' Citizen Forester initiative - creating opportunities for people to learn new skills and connect to nature.

Cllr Andrew Western, GMCA Lead for the Green City-Region, said: “In Greater Manchester we’re making good progress towards the goals of our Five-Year Environment Plan, and those ambitions remain at the heart of our plans to lead a sustainable recovery from the pandemic. This Green Recovery Challenge Fund grant is further recognition of the leading role being played by local authorities, charities, and community groups across our city-region in achieving those goals.

“The funding will help deliver some of the essential work being undertaken to safeguard wildlife habitats, develop natural flood management projects and peatland carbon stores, and teach families and young children about the natural world on our doorsteps.

“Nature is resilient, but we need to support that resilience. This grant is a really positive boost to our plans to protect our natural environment for the benefit of both our wildlife and our communities.”

Sarah Williams, Business Development Manager at City of Trees comments

“We’re delighted to be part of this wider programme and play our part in nature’s recovery in Trafford and Bury. We all know how important green spaces are to people, even more so during the last 12 months, so this funding is crucial in helping to improve the local area, making a positive impact for both local communities and wildlife".

Managed by The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, the fund will officially be launched in spring, but some projects will begin now in preparation.

The fund will support Greater Manchester’s developing Local Nature Recovery Strategy, delivering 537 hectares of habitat restoration, which will benefit 2,758ha of connected landscapes:

  • 48ha of wetland and lowland peat on the mosses in Salford and Wigan;
  • 117ha of moorland peat on the Pennines above Oldham;
  • 58ha of improved habitats, including innovative island habitat along the Ashton and Rochdale canals;
  • 59ha of habitats along the River Croal and River Tame and areas within the Northern Roots project in Oldham;
  • 255ha in woodland in Bury, Oldham and Trafford.

The city-region was selected in August to be one of five areas to lead the Government’s Local Nature Recovery Strategy pilot project to recover nature across England.

In developing its strategy, Greater Manchester will partner with Natural England to map out the most important natural habitats across the city-region, identify opportunities to support wildlife, and bring together a broad range of groups to agree priorities for restoring nature and realising wider environmental benefits.