Living LabYesterday’s Natural Capital Group Conference and the launch of the IGNITION Living Lab showcased the incredible nature-based solutions projects of Greater Manchester.

Over the past year, we have all come to value our parks and greenspaces much more. But did you know how these nature-based solutions make our city region more resilient to the effects of climate change?

On 17 June, the Greater Manchester Natural Capital Group Conference and the launch of the IGNITION Living Lab at the University of Salford showcased the innovative nature-based solutions (NBS) projects across Greater Manchester.

The event saw over 450 digital sign-ups from across the globe and held engaging panel discussions on the future of Greater Manchester’s nature-based solutions as a positive reaction to the climate emergency.

What happened at the Natural Capital Group Conference?

This year, the annual conference was hosted by Anne Selby, Greater Manchester Natural Capital Group Chair, and we heard from key environmental speakers from across the UK, including:

  • Marian Spain, CEO of Natural England
  • Sue Longstone, Director of Operations at Environment Agency (North)
  • Councillor Andrew Western, Leader of Trafford Council
  • Chris Matthews, Head of Sustainability at United Utilities

Panel discussions with key speakers showed the national emphasis on nature-based solutions as a response to the climate emergency, with Government focus shifting to help our natural environment flourish to improve biodiversity, reverse the effects of climate change and to enhance human wellbeing.

The Greater Manchester Natural Capital Group is one of 48 Local Nature Partnerships in England. It is made up of representatives from the public, private and third sectors who are all working together to improve their local natural environment. The group acts as an ambassador for the natural environment in Greater Manchester, supporting delivery through existing partnerships, and showcasing important projects.

The conference also included a range of on-demand presentations from Greater Manchester project partners, and this content along with all the presentations featured on the day will be available on the Natural Capital Group Conference website until June 2022.

Find out more about the work of the Natural Capital Group at the Natural Greater Manchester website, and download the recently launched Natural Capital User Guide.

The launch of the IGNITION Living Lab

IGNITION is a £4m EU-funded,12-partner project which looks to establish innovative ways of financing urban NBS that build resilience to climate change in Greater Manchester.

The IGNITION Living Lab is a one-of-a-kind research installation at the University of Salford. It brings together inter-connected nature-based solutions to the climate emergency. The rain garden, green roofs, green walls and sustainable drainage (SuDS) trees are providing new data on the functionality and benefits of nature-based solutions. This data will help the IGNITION project develop robust business models for investment in nature-based solutions at scale. This event will launch the Living Lab and share the steps that key cities around the world are taking to build climate resilience within our urban areas.

The event, hosted by Living Lab Director Prof Hisham Elkadi, saw very special guests, such as:

  • Prof Karl Dayson, Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, University of Salford
  • Emma Howard Boyd, Chair, Environment Agency
  • Cllr Paul Dennett, City Mayor of Salford, UK
  • Dr Frank Mentrup, Lord Mayor of Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Stephanie Asher, Mayor of Geelong, Australia
  • David Mitchell, Mayor of Bridgewater, Canada

These mayors gave a global perspective on nature-based solutions as well as the environmental work that is going on in their own city regions.

Find out more about the IGNITION Living Lab over on the University of Salford YouTube channel. For more information on the IGNITION project as a whole, head to the IGNITION website.

Greater Manchester Water Forum

As part of the Natural Capital Group Conference, the Natural Course project held the Greater Manchester Water Forum which brought together water professionals to discuss an integrated water management system across Greater Manchester. Thank you to those who helped shape this valuable discussion.

Thank you to everyone who attended these events to celebrate the fantastic work going on across our city region.

For more information about the Natural Capital Group Conference, the IGNITION project, the Greater Manchester Water Forum or nature-based solutions in general, sign up to our Green City Region Newsletter and keep an eye on our Twitter account @GMGreenCity.

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