Investing in a Greener Manchester IGNITION Project

This report represents the findings of three engagement initiatives undertaken across the Greater Manchester region.

This report combines the findings of three engagement initiatives undertaken across the Greater Manchester (GM) region, as well the innovative Nature-Based Solution (NBS) funding research conducted as part of the IGNITION project. The report is based on the insights obtained via the citizen and local area engagement initiative in the region, undertaken between October 2019 and December 2020. The report includes an overview of how public attitudes towards parks and green spaces have developed since the onset of national lockdowns.

Citizen and local area pritorities and practices

Collating over 5,000 responses from across three datasets (see Table 1, page 11), this report forms a comprehensive outline of both citizen and local area perspectives, priorities, and practices in relation to NBS.
This research was undertaken by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Business in the Community (BITC).

Key recommendations

  • Share knowledge and expertise
  • Establish dedicated champions
  • Trial and evaluate innovative financial models
  • Recognise nature-based solutions
  • Use IGNITION’s Evidence Base
  • Embed clear definitions
  • Engage communities
  • Develop and deliver strategic climate action plans
  • Direct funds towards nature
  • Adopt a ‘nature-first’ approach
  • Prepare for the Environment Bill


The Ignition Project Evidence Base

To establish funding models for NBS, the IGNITION project undertook a mass-collation of evidence for five urban NBS across twelve environmental, social, and economic benefits. The initial collation gathered over 1,000 individual academic articles and studies, to provide a foundation of quantifiable evidence to identify how NBS perform and who they benefit. This evidence base has been used across the IGNITION project, including the development of this report ” Investing in a Greener Manchester and within the wider NBS sector. It has facilitated a greater understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of NBS.

The knowledge base and the gaps identified within it are being used to inform the research carried out by the University of Salford’s NBS Living Lab as part of the IGNITION project. The NBS covered were green roofs, green walls, sustainable drainage systems (SuDS), urban parks and green spaces, and street trees.

The breadth of research compiled demonstrates the economic, social, and environmental drivers for investing in NBS and show that, when all benefits are considered together, the payback of NBS far surpasses their non-green alternatives.

The NBS Evidence Base is available online along with a guide on how to use the data and the current data summaries. The nature-based solutions to the climate emergency: the benefits to business and society report translates this vast amount of data into an accessible report, co-authored by UKGBC, BITC, and GMCA.

About the Business in the Community Environment agenda

Our environment and sustainability agenda encourages innovative and transformational change at the core of business. Our programmes focus on building a one-planet economy that delivers lasting prosperity through the UN Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

What if acting on climate change was everybodies business?