Developing Greater Manchester’s First Natural Capital Investment Plan

On 16 January, 2018, the Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub’s Natural Capital Group (NCG) hosted their annual conference at the Manchester Museum. This event brought together over 70 practitioners and citizens from across Greater Manchester. The day was spent discussing the many benefits found by connecting people with nature and debating how we can spark innovative ways to connect people in Greater Manchester to the local environment.

A ‘listening workshop’ was also held at the end of the day. This workshop focused on gathering attendees vision for the future of Greater Manchester’s natural environment and the feedback helped inform the debates and outcomes of the inaugural Mayor’s Green Summit.

Two additional natural capital listening workshops were held with stakeholders and practitioners after the NCG Conference. One of which was Investing In a Greener Greater Manchester. This listening event was targeted towards the business community that found Greater Manchester has the potential to become the UK’s leading green city region.

The third natural capital listening event focused on place and how we can make Greater Manchester a physically greener city region, with more green and blue spaces from the city core to the rural edges. A number of priorities were raised by the attendees during, but the most popular amongst the group was the concept of a “Green Bank”. The proposed green bank would create innovative finance mechanisms that could generate funding for a wide range of local greening projects. A lack of funding mechanisms for green projects was an issue raised at the previous two natural capital listening events so it was decided that the green back concept should be brought forward for discussion at the Green Summit.

Creating ‘The Plan’:

At the Mayor’s Green Summit, one of the announcements was that Greater Manchester will produce a Natural Capital Investment Plan (‘the plan’) by December 2018. The plan will promote investment and delivery of opportunities that will protect and enhance Greater Manchester’s natural capital to support a healthy population and economy.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Natural Course, an EU LIFE Integrated Project, have commissioned eftec and partners Environmental Finance and Countryscape to develop the plan for the city region.

Production of the plan was a key commitment announced at the Mayor’s Green Summit in March 2018, and will look to promote investment in and delivery of opportunities that protect and enhance Greater Manchester’s natural capital to support a healthy population and economy.

The plan builds on and complements the work of the Defra Urban Pioneer, (including its baseline natural capital account for Greater Manchester), and the work of the Greater Manchester Natural Capital Group, Greater Manchester Environment Team, Low Carbon Hub, and initiatives across the 10 Districts.

Establishing a Vision:

The vision guiding this plan is a Greater Manchester where investments in natural capital enhance the long-term social, environmental, and economic health and wellbeing of its people and businesses.

Work on the plan has been based on a review of natural capital assets, activities and

projects. The draft NCIP for Greater Manchester has identified where investment in natural capital could be most effective, potential sources of revenue and priority investment opportunities.

Stakeholder Workshop:

Stakeholder engagement forms a key part of the process in developing the NCIP to ensure that that the right priorities and opportunities have been identified.

More than 50 stakeholders with an interest in the natural environment attended a workshop on the 1st October to help develop a Natural Capital Investment Plan for Greater Manchester.

The workshop brought together stakeholders to help discuss the elements of the draft plan and factors that will affect its success; develop the business cases for investments in natural capital, identify enabling actions and build capacity.

Following the workshop work is underway to produce a draft final plan at the end of October 2018 which will look to be approved by the GMCA in December.  Following this a launch event will be held late January 2019.

More Information:

More details of progress to date can be found at: https://naturegreatermanchester.co.uk/project/greater-manchester-natural-capital-investment-plan/