Mobilising funds for multiple benefits and ecosystem services: Use of urban catchment forestry to deliver multiple ecosystem services in urban areas


Surface water flooding from overwhelmed drains is an increasing challenge in urban areas and leads to significant economic costs for businesses, landowners and individuals as well as impacts on health and wellbeing. Meanwhile, urban diffuse pollution contributes to poor water quality, impacting on the ecological status of rivers and making them unattractive and unsustainable, with associated treatment costs for water companies and public bodies. Such challenges are exacerbated by increasing levels of urbanisation and a changing climate with projections of changing rainfall patterns, including more intense rainfall events, leading to more overwhelmed drainage.

What we are doing

Using the outputs from the evidence base and modelling work in Phases 1&2, we have been identified a number of sites in urban catchments where demonstration projects can be delivered.  These projects will highlight the value of trees, woodland and other green infrastructure features to urban water management. The practical interventions will help to:

  • Slow the flow of water and contribute to reduced levels of surface water flooding.
  • Reduce the levels of diffuse urban pollution flowing into urban watercourses.
  • Understand and explore the wider ecosystem services benefits of tree planting, woodland creation and other small-scale green infrastructure features.

Natural Course capacity will be used to develop these interventions which will be funded through Natural Course resources matched to partner contributions.

Who else is involved?

Projects will be delivered by the Community Forest Trust working, alongside Greater Manchester district councils and landowners such as the Woodland Trust.

Project location

Sustainable urban drainage interventions will be delivered in Salford and Stockport.  Slow-the-flow measures will be installed in upland peri-urban areas around Greater Manchester.

Latest update

This will generate a series of demonstration projects, including three green infrastructure projects in urban areas and the installation of run-off attenuation features at two upland sites in the rural urban fringe of Greater Manchester.

Project update: Delivering multiple benefits and ecosystem services at the Smithills Estate, Bolton. – Natural Course

Communicating the importance of natural flood management to a global audience – Natural Course