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River Irwell

Natural Course on Track for Landscape Institute Award 2019

What is Natural Course?

Natural Course is an EU LIFE Integrated Project funded programme across Greater Manchester aiming to build capacity to protect and improve our North West water environment, now and for the future. 78% of our rivers in North West England are not considered healthy and many solutions are found to be too expensive to implement.

Organisations from across North West England are working together to seek cost-effective solutions to improving water quality across urban and rural landscapes, sharing best practice across the UK and Europe.


The challenges of Greater Manchester’s waterscape

In the UK, the most challenging area to restore is the post-industrial landscape. The Natural Course project highlights where and how humans can benefit from the environment if rivers are restored in and around Greater Manchester, and how this can bring economic benefits and investment to the area. The project shows that landscape managers and scientists can create a landscape-scale ecosystem services (ESS) assessment of value to decision makers and land managers.

This Natural Course project demonstrates that providing a better understanding of the significant monetary value of the ESS that are provided by waterbodies can help direct investment to areas that need it the most. The innovative methodology can be replicated in other areas across the world and could be used across different landscapes and varying scales. Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and their stakeholders has a robust evidence base which can be interrogated on the MappingGM web tool so that the legacy of the project continues.

The Landscape Institute Awards are presented to professionals in recognition of their outstanding work and to encourage excellence. Every year, the institute applauds those working on the most forward-thinking projects to have shaped, restored and protected the natural and built environment.

The awards ceremony will take place in London on Thursday 28th November.