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Salford joins Ignition partnership to offset climate change

Tuesday 2 April 2019

PARTNERS including the University of Salford have signed a multi-million pound European contract for a project to develop 'green' resilience to extreme climate hazards.

The IGNITION project backed by £4 million from the EU’s Urban Innovation Actions initiative, will see the University host a ‘living laboratory’ for urban green infrastructure incuding roofs, walls and gardens.

The project is led by Greater Manchester Combined Authority and supported by 11 partners, including the Environment Agency, and comes in response to increasing flooding, heat hazards and worsening air quality.

Mayor Andy Burnham, said: “We are serious about our green ambitions in Greater Manchester – to become carbon neutral by 2038 and one of the world’s leading green city-regions. However, we also need to prepare for the climate change impacts which are now unavoidable and we must do it soon; we can’t keep doing things the old way.

Nature-based solutions

“This project will help us encourage widespread use of innovative, nature-based solutions such as green roofs and walls to cool our city-region down, manage water and reduce flooding, while also reducing our carbon output, and improving our air quality. The funding will also help us to find ways to accelerate and finance their deployment.”

Partners will identify sites within Greater Manchester where natural capital climate adaptation projects can manage urban flood and overheating risks. 

These smaller individual schemes will then be brought together into larger investible packages of projects at around the £10 million scale, ensuring they are attractive to private investors. Through the development of financing mechanisms and building investor confidence, the IGNITION project will ensure city-regions like Greater Manchester can deliver adaptations to urban green spaces needed to combat climate change and extreme weather risks over the coming decades.

Environment Agency Chair, Emma Howard Boyd said: “The project sets a target of a 10% increase in green infrastructure in Greater Manchester by 2038.

“Over the next three years it will create and finance natural climate adaptation projects that are attractive to private investors, and create the mechanisms and confidence for investments in blue and green infrastructure. 


“This helps both Environment Agency to accelerate the 25 Year Environment Plan through the Urban Pioneer and GMCA to deliver their Natural Capital Investment Plan. But, more importantly - by generating a return while greening Manchester - the project could provide a model for investors around the world that would help ‘green finance’ for urban infrastructure to go mainstream.”

IGNITION partners are as follows:

- Greater Manchester Combined Authority

- Manchester City Council

- Salford City Council

- Environment Agency

- United Utilities

- Business in the Community

- Groundwork

- City of Trees

- University of Salford

- University of Manchester

- UK Green Building Council

- Royal Horticultural Society

In 2015, Greater Manchester experienced significant flooding, damaging homes, businesses and infrastructure. Heat stress incidents are also on the rise as a result of increasing temperatures and storms are becoming more common, as is flooding from intense rainfall.

Living labs

Dr Nick Davies, a researcher in urban ecology at the University of Salford said: “The ‘Living Labs’ on our campus will be live demonstrations of how these features work and can help show the value of them to stakeholders and investors.

“Currently a lot or organisations are talking about green features but are uncertain as to which work and whether they are cost-effective.”

The Salford team includes energy physicist Professor Will Swan and ecologist Professor Philip James.

Find out more

Gareth Hollyman, Senior Press & PR Officer (Science)

0161 295 6895