Greater Manchester Combined Authority is developing a Local Nature Recovery Strategy – a new blueprint for nature recovery setting out not only how we can help nature recover but also where we need to be focusing our efforts.

This month’s blog focuses on where we should be focusing our nature recovery efforts across the city region – the spatial component of this strategy. This includes two distinct maps, that are currently being developed and will together showcase a nature recovery network, stretching across Greater Manchester.

Note: map screenshots included in this blog are for illustrative purposes only and not representative of our final LNRS maps.

Why does the Local Nature Recovery Strategy need maps?

The Greater Manchester Local Nature Recovery Strategy will feature two key maps to drive coordinated action for nature. These two maps will set out our existing important areas for nature and focal areas for nature recovery – together forming a nature recovery network for the city region.

Core Areas Map

Our Core Areas map highlights the locations that are already known to be important for wildlife. What we can include on this map is set by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and includes local and national nature reserves, local wildlife sites or sites of biological interest, as well as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation, and irreplaceable habitats as defined by DEFRA. You can read more about some of the condition of these sites in our State of Nature report.

Opportunity Map

Our opportunity map is much more personalised and will set out those areas in Greater Manchester that have the greatest potential to help nature recovery. This will include areas where we could expand, connect-up existing important sites or create new corridors or stepping stones for nature. Our opportunity map will allow all of us to focus our efforts for nature recovery, in those areas that could make the most difference for wildlife and where our collective action could make the biggest impact.

Together these two maps will form a blueprint for a new nature recovery network across our communities and help guide where actions should be taken to maximise nature recovery efforts.

How are the maps being made?

Mapping where we need to focus our efforts for nature recovery is by no means easy and requires tough choices to identify those areas which could make the most difference for nature.

The areas we can map as core areas for nature recovery is tightly regulated by Defra, to enable them to create a nationally consistent baseline.

Our opportunity areas are a chance for us to set out those spaces and places across the city region which could make the most difference in helping nature to recover. To inform our opportunity mapping we have been focusing with our partners and experts on the best places to connect our remaining sites for nature across the city region – this will help boost the resilience of our remaining wildlife by helping them move across Greater Manchester. Using both local knowledge and expertise, and ecological network modelling, we are working to identify key wildlife corridors for nature and set areas we should all be focusing on expanding and restoring habitats.

Where are we up to now?

We will be working with local experts on our Steering Group to finalise both of these maps over the summer, in advance of our public consultation later in 2024.

We are also currently developing a ‘Nature Activity Map’ which will showcase where you can get involved in local community action for nature and nature for health activities, including opportunities to grow your own food, join climate action groups and many more!

Find out more about our plan for nature recovery

Greater Manchester is currently developing its Local Nature Recovery Strategy, which will set out a blueprint for a more liveable city-region, with fairer access to green space for all.

Find out more including ways to get involved on our nature recovery webpage.
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