The Council and democracy Climate Change Action Plan - Progress Update Q1, Q2 and Q3 Apr - Dec 2020

Workstream #4 - Climate Change Adaptation and Carbon Sequestration

Action 4.1 The Manchester Tree Action Plan

Based on the successful tree planting work over the last thirteen years (where over 100,000 have been planted) a new £1m 3-year programme of city-wide tree planting has been launched, with planting season now underway over winter 2020-21. 

  • In December 2020, an avenue of mature trees was planted to help create Great Ancoats Boulevard; with 62 trees planted in total. 
  • In the same month, 33 cherry trees were planted to create a feature avenue in Old Moat; this was done on the back of a consultation and with the support of local residents, a nearby primary school and ward councillors. 
Image shows two members of council staff planting a tree.

Members of the arboriculture team planting one of the trees in Old Moat.

The city is on track to meet this year’s targets but, as the tree-planting season runs from November to March, the full and accurate figures are not yet available. 
The projected spend for this year is £250k. As the programme is rolled out, the target is to plant 1,000 new trees, including a mix of street trees, beacon trees, avenues, hedgerow planting and community orchards within parks.

Action 4.2 Embedding Nature Based Solutions

Work to embed nature-based solutions (NBS) for flood resilience in open spaces, highways and new developments across the city has continued in 2020. Examples include: 

  • GrowGreen - an EU-funded Horizon 2020 project - has delivered NBS demonstration projects in Manchester, Valencia and Wroclaw. Alongside these practical schemes, Universities in the three cities are developing KPIs to monitor the physical and social benefits that the demonstrators bring. In Manchester, the University of Manchester has begun monitoring the impact of the West Gorton Community Park. 
  • The West Gorton Community Park is a £1.4m, 14,000 sq. metre “sponge” park funded by GrowGreen which opened in July 2020. This is a new, accessible, multi-functional neighbourhood green space designed to help the climate resilience of the local area. It follows "sponge principles", incorporating sustainable urban drainage (SuDS) to allow rainwater run-off from nearby roads to be channelled and filtered through natural drainage systems, slowing and reducing the flow into the normal drainage system. The development of the community park included working and consulting with the local community in West Gorton to ensure local ideas could be incorporated into the final design. It has also provided a real-life experience of the procurement and installation process of such a NBS feature and provides a showcase location which can demonstrate NBS’s in use and the potential wider business cases for future financing of such developments. Watch a film about West Gorton Community Park on YouTube.
  • Manchester River Valley Strategy: procured from our EU Horizon 2020 funded GrowGreen project, The Environment Partnership (TEP) - are developing a River Valley Strategy for the city’s three main rivers (Irk, Mersey, Medlock). This will provide further evidence to the main Green & Blue Infrastructure Strategy, on the value of the city’s rivers and their tributaries to the city (both as a flood resilience asset, but also the many co-benefits), and consider how best they could be retained or improved. 
  • Mayfield Park will be the city’s first new park in over 100 years. Consent for phase one of the scheme was granted in February 2020 for the creation of the 6.5-acre park. In August 2020 Mayfield secured £23 million in grant funding from the Government's ‘Getting Building’ Fund which will allow construction to commence soon. Mayfield is a 24-acre brownfield site with the River Medlock and green infrastructure improvements central to its delivery; it is designed as a ‘floodable park’, bringing citizens closer to the river. 
  • Northern Gateway. In partnership with FEC, the Council has set the ambition for world class green spaces throughout the development, including seven ‘new’ green spaces including a City River Park and a viaduct development. Challenges exist around capital and ongoing maintenance finance and governance models. With assistance from GMCA, around £30k of technical assistance has been secured to look at different business models for ongoing governance and maintenance models. 
  • GMCA Ignition Project: this is a £4.4m collaboration project led by GMCA bringing together 12 GM-based partners including Manchester City Council, United Utilities and the Environment Agency. Activities of the project include mapping the ‘baseline’ of Green Infrastructure in Greater Manchester; mapping the overlay of historic flood events with the Council’s capital and highways programmes and the capital programmes of United Utilities and Environment Agency; and exploring potential business models for parks including partial disconnection from mains drainage. Within this project, the Council has secured an additional allocation of £15k to provide further detail around a business case for installing exemplar Sustainable Urban Drainage on Deansgate.

Action 4.3 Tree Opportunity Mapping

In August 2020, the Council committed £50k and commissioned City of Trees and TEP to deliver a piece of work ‘Managing Manchester’s Trees’ (MMT), which will help provide a better understanding of the city's tree resource and identify further opportunities for planting and management. The ‘i-Trees’ assessment of our tree stock aims to demonstrate the value of our existing 1.2 million trees to carbon storage, sequestration, climate resilience air quality and many other benefits. The tree mapping will conclude in March 2021 and will focus on:

  • A retrospective look back at the composition, change and evolution of the City’s treescape over the last 100 years.
  • A sustainable and innovative plan for managing the City’s existing tree resource.
  • Ward specific opportunity maps indicating priorities for new tree planting, including species suitability options. 
  • The means to identify ward specific location for new Beacon Trees (mature) tree planting

This work will provide the context within which opportunities for tree planting can be assessed going forward, allowing reasoned decisions to be made regarding appropriate places to plant individual trees and woodland. It will be used to inform the ongoing active tree planting programme. To support this, we have committed £45k to create a 2-year part-time post to manage this internally.

Action 4.4 Maximising Council Contribution to City of Trees

The aforementioned £1 million programme, delivering significant levels of tree planting on Council owned land, represents the Council’s contribution to the citywide effort by City of Trees to increase the number of trees in Manchester. The aim is to plant trees in the right location and of the right species to achieve maximum benefits for climate adaptation, carbon storage, sequestration. The key consideration is to find sites capable of accommodating larger trees that will create long lasting impact, provide local benefits and will be capable of surviving into old age. By the end of the full programme all wards will have received additional tree planting where appropriate. 

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