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The Council and democracy Climate Change Action Plan - Annual Report 2020-21

Progress report - Workstream #4 Climate Change Adaptation and Carbon Sequestration

Action 4.1 Manchester Tree Action Plan

A new £1m 3-year programme of city-wide tree planting was launched this year, based on the tree planting work over the last thirteen years, during which over 100,000 have been planted. 
Across all partners over 4,280 trees, 275 metres of new hedgerows and 5 orchards have been planted this season (October 2020 – May 2021). This includes the planting of 62 trees to create an avenue of mature trees on Great Ancoats.

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. Planting took place across other wards and within Manchester’s parks and cemeteries.

Council officers have engaged with members, residents and other stakeholders delivering tree planting projects across 10 wards. Through successful neighbourhood engagement with residents on Brunswick Road and Burlington Road in Withington, residents selected their own tree types and suggested locations for planting. These residents have also made a commitment to help look after their trees by maintaining them and watering during periods of dry weather. 

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 continued in 2020. 


This 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 performance indicators to monitor the physical and social benefits which the demonstrators bring. In Manchester, the University of Manchester have begun monitoring the impact of the West Gorton Community Park. 

The West Gorton Community Park

This a £1.4m, 14,000 sq. metre “sponge” park funded by GrowGreen which opened in July 2020. It's 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 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 NBS features and provides a showcase location which can demonstrate NBS’s in use and the potential wider business cases for future financing of such developments.

The flood alleviation measures in West Gorton Community Park were tested by Storm Christoph in January 2021 and proved effective at channelling roadside and storm water through the park using the swales and rain-gardens, feeding the landscape and creating temporary water features. Through the GrowGreen project, £20k is available to procure a partner to work with the West Gorton community to setup a ‘Friends of’ group for the ‘Sponge Park’. Watch the video on You Tube that was made about this project.

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), providing further evidence to the main Green & Blue Infrastructure Strategy, on the value of the city’s rivers and their tributaries (both as a flood resilience asset, but also the many co-benefits), and to consider how best they could be retained or improved. 

Mayfield Park

This is 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 £23m in grant funding from the Government's ‘Getting Building’ Fund and construction commenced in December 2020. It's a 24-acre brownfield site with the River Medlock and green infrastructure improvements central to its delivery and is designed as a ‘floodable park’, bringing citizens closer to the river. 

Northern Gateway

In partnership with Far East Consortium, we have set the ambition for world class green spaces throughout the development, with seven ‘new’ green spaces including a City River Park and a viaduct development, although 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 these.

A Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office event was hosted by Manchester in February 2020 showcasing Manchester’s nature-based solutions projects, including the West Gorton Community Park, the Mayfield development and the Northern Gateway development. 

GMCA Ignition Project

This £4.4m collaboration project is 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 flood risk across GM in order to model the effects of Sustainable Urban Drainage solutions to mitigate this risk; and exploring potential business models for parks. Within the project, City of Trees, working with the Council, have secured an additional allocation of £20k to provide further detail around a business case for installing exemplar Sustainable Urban Drainage on Edge St in the Northern Quarter. The We Love Manchester charity has also provided additional funding in collaboration with Groundwork's 'Eco Streets' Ignition work to improve two small 'unloved' patches of the city at 'Pigeon Park' in Longsight and Pioneer Quay, Castlefield.

Action 4.3 Tree Opportunity Mapping

In August 2020, we committed £50k and commissioned City of Trees and TEP to deliver a piece of work ‘Evolution of Treescape’, 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 Manchester’s tree stock aims to demonstrate the value of our existing 1.2m trees to carbon storage, sequestration, climate resilience, air quality and many other benefits. An initial draft of the report is being refined which focuses on the following:

  • A retrospective look 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 provides 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, and it will be used to inform the ongoing active tree planting programme. A mapping tool for Beacon trees has also been designed by TEP, this has a range of potential uses by us and our partners, including interactive engagement and consultation for local tree planting. To manage this work internally, we committed a further £45k to create a 2-year part-time post, which commenced in February 2021. 

Action 4.4 Maximising Council Contribution to City of Trees

The aforementioned £1m programme, delivering significant levels of tree planting on Council owned land, represents our contribution to the citywide effort by City of Trees to increase the number of trees in Manchester. The aim is to plant the right species of trees in the right location to achieve maximum benefits for climate adaptation, carbon storage and 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. 

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