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River Irwell

Natural Course is Making Waves in Water Quality


Natural Course has been working in partnership with a wide range of Lancashire, Cumbria and Greater Manchester-based projects to raise awareness of water quality and implement long-lasting changes to our rivers and waterways.


What is Natural Course?


Natural Course is an EU-funded LIFE Integrated Project that will run for 10 years. Its aim is to improve and protect the water quality of the North West.


78% of our rivers in North West England are not considered healthy and many solutions are found to be too expensive to implement. Natural Course is seeking cost-effective solutions to improving water quality across urban and rural landscapes, sharing best practice across the UK and Europe.


Greater Manchester Combined Authority, United Utilities, The Rivers Trust, Natural England and the Environment Agency are the major players within Natural Course – however, partnership working is vital across a whole range of organisations. Over the past year, the programme has been working hard to improve water quality, support innovative projects that have multiple benefits such as managing flood risk, and bring together further organisations who will be instrumental in shaping the future of the North West’s waterways.


Here’s what Natural Course has been up to!


Natural flood management on Crompton Moor


Peatlands are important habitats as they store carbon, and also hold and filter water, which helps improve water quality. Here we look at the impact of natural flood management interventions, like tree planting and peatland restoration through Sphagnum moss planting, on Crompton Moor in Oldham and how this significantly benefits the surrounding area.

Crompton Moor tree planting


Greater Manchester Natural Capital Group Annual Conference 2020: Delivering a Greener Greater Manchester


Earlier in 2020, the Natural Capital Group conference brought together leading practitioners from public, private and third sectors. It celebrated environmental successes and plans for nature-based projects, forming part of Greater Manchester Five-Year Environment Plan.

Natural Course was the main sponsor for the event with this year’s conference was attended by 170 people, with a keynote address from Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England.


Natural Course and IGNITION: Contributing to the Greater Manchester Five-Year Environment Plan


Natural Course is working towards delivering several parts of the Greater Manchester Five-Year Environment Plan, like many other projects including the IGNITION project. Both projects have many similarities and overlaps. Here we examine the ways that Natural Course and IGNITION are working together to reach positive end-goals for the natural environment across GM.


Now in the third phase of the programme, Natural Course is taking part in many more exciting projects coming up over the next few years.


For a full list of the projects that Natural Course has been part of, head over to the Natural Course website or Twitter: @natural_course.