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

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.

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.”

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.

The Wildlife Trusts Director of Nature and Wellbeing Daveen Wallis said: “This is brilliant news. GMEF will reflect its bee brand, pollinating projects with financial support so they can blossom and be part of the recovery of nature in Greater Manchester.

“There is rising climate anxiety amongst young people who have also been hit the hardest by Covid-19.  Our programme will inspire and support volunteers across our 10 priority habit projects as well as delivering 12 traineeships targeted at 16 – 25-year olds. 

“It will help save jobs in partner organisations at a time when their ability deliver ‘Build Back Greener’ is under economic threat.  We will also create jobs and support local contracting and consultancy businesses. This is the first opportunity to bring environmental organisations to the forefront of nature’s recovery and we are keen to work closely together, share skills and experience benefitting all of our staff and volunteers. “


Notes to Editors

The Greater Manchester Environment Fund is the UK’s first regional environmental impact fund, targeting social, environmental and financial outcomes and seeking to recycle capital back into delivering GM’s vision for the natural and built environment over the long-term.

The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside is dedicated to the protection and promotion of the wildlife in Lancashire, seven boroughs of Greater Manchester and four of Merseyside, all lying north of the River Mersey.  It manages around 40 nature reserves and 20 Local Nature Reserves covering acres of woodland, wetland, upland and meadow. The Trust has 30,000 members, and over 1,200 volunteers.

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is a short-term competitive fund to kick-start environmental renewal whilst creating and retaining a range of jobs. It is open to environmental charities and their partners to deliver projects in England, delivering against the goals of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan (25YEP), whilst helping to sustain and build capacity in the sector.

Article Published: 11/12/2020 12:48 PM