Greater Manchester’s Natural Capital Conference

Leading practitioners from across the country attended the Greater Manchester’s Natural Capital Annual Conference in Salford, to discuss how best to adopt a natural capital approach in urban environments.

On Wednesday 1st February 2017 over 100 representatives from environment, health, planning, utilities and transport sectors came together to discuss what natural capital do for our urban environments, as part of the Greater Manchester Natural Capital Annual Conference.


Held at the Lowry in Salford, the conference provided a platform for leading practitioners to find out about complementary initiatives taking place in Greater Manchester, including the Urban Pioneer and the Life funded Natural Course project.

Keynote speakers at the event included Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency and Andrew Holden from Defra.

Emma Howard Boyd spoke about building a business case for investment in natural capital and Andrew Holden provided background to the Urban Pioneer, as part of Defra’s 25-year plan.

Andrew said, “Our environment is a precious natural asset that provides us with numerous benefits such as clean water, clean air, food, timber, flood protection and recreation.

“The Pioneer projects will help shape our long-term approach to the environment.  We have set up four Pioneer project areas to trial and test new ways of working for local environmental benefits. There is a rural landscape in North Devon, an urban setting in Greater Manchester, a network of river catchments in Cumbria and a project on the marine environments off the coasts of Suffolk and North Devon.

“We want to design an effective approach to driving environmental improvement, tailored to the needs of our country that has a powerful and permanent impact – ensuring a healthy environment and strong economy.”

Natural-Capital-Conference-BadgesThe conference was also an opportunity to introduce the EU Life Integrated Project, Natural Course, which through a collaboration of public, private and third sector organisations, will protect and improve the North West water environment.

Speaking about Natural Course was Mark Turner, Natural Course GM Team Leader at Greater Manchester Combined Authorities. Mark said: “It was great to see such a variation of sectors attending on the day who were looking to find opportunities to adopt a natural capital approach. Through Natural Course, we are hoping to protect and improve Greater Manchester’s rivers, strengthening the city’s current natural capital.”

*Images credited to Mike Beard