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Speakers at the Natural Capital Group conference

Inspiring Conference Urges Greater Manchester to Work Together for the Environment

This year’s Natural Capital Conference had a fantastic turnout. More than 170 delegates from Greater Manchester’s environment, health, planning, utilities and transport sectors met for the conference at Deansgate Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday 11th February to discuss and plan nature-based projects which form part of the Greater Manchester 5 Year Environment Plan.


Who is the Natural Capital Group?

The Greater Manchester Natural Capital Group is one of 48 Local Nature Partnerships in England. It is made up of representatives from the public, private and third sectors who are all working together to improve their local natural environment. The group acts as an ambassador for the natural environment in Greater Manchester, supporting delivery through existing partnerships, and showcasing important projects.


The annual conference was joint-funded by two major Greater Manchester environmental projects – Natural Course and Urban Pioneer.


What happened at the event?

This year, the event was hosted by Anne Selby, GM Natural Capital Group and CEO, The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, and welcomed a whole host of environmental trailblazers to share their thoughts and insights into their areas of interest.


Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, addressed the crowd to share the great ways that Greater Manchester is working together. He praised the partnership working within Greater Manchester at a time when it is needed the most to combat climate change.


Professor Dieter Helm, Chair of the Natural Capital Committee, and Andy Holden, Natural Environment Strategy Team at Defra were also there to champion the important work delivered as part of the Urban Pioneer. The project revealed that £1bn of eco-system services and other benefits came from the natural environment every year in Greater Manchester.


Speakers highlighted the UK-wide 25 Year Environment Plan and the lessons learnt so far, as well as the implementation of the Greater Manchester Five-Year Environment Plan launched by The Mayor of Greater Manchester; Andy Burnham at the Green Summit in 2019. Social prescribing – the idea of prescribing nature for physical and mental health benefits – was a particular area of interest at the conference.

Further speakers at the Natural Capital Group conference


Workshops covered five key areas:

1. Managing land for carbon (City of Trees and Natural England)

2. Collaborating on the delivery of integrated catchment solutions (United Utilities and Environment Agency)

3. Developing a Greater Manchester Nature Recovery Network (Natural England)

4. Increasing investment in our natural environment (GMCA and Environmental Finance)

5. Embedding green and blue prescriptions into social prescribing (Lancashire Wildlife Trust and Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership)


Take a look at the conference’s full agenda here.


Environmental Toolkit

At the conference,the GMCA also announced  a partnership campaign with local environmental organisations including Lancashire Wildlife Trust, City of Trees and Natural England, United Utilities, Royal Horticultural Society, and the Environment Agency. The campaign aims to inspire residents, businesses and policy makers across the region to work together to improve Greater Manchester’s environment.


Officially launching in spring this year, the campaign will feature a toolkit of resources including  an inspirational film, animations including key facts, social media content bank and photography, looking to engage with organisations across Greater Manchester to work together to lead change.


The campaign, set to launch in spring, hopes to inspire and motivate those across Greater Manchester, showing that by doing small actions, we can all make a big difference.


All presentations and workshop outcomes from the day can be found here.


Look out for news on next year’s Natural Capital Group Conference on the Nature Greater Manchester website.