Defra has selected Greater Manchester as one of only four UK settings chosen to “pioneer” new ways of working in order to better protect and enhance our natural environment.

As part of the Government’s department for the environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) 25-year environment plan launched this week, Greater Manchester has been announced as the UK’s ‘Urban Pioneer City Region’, bolstering the region’s green credentials and providing a significant boost to its ambition to become the greenest city region in the UK.

Defra has established pioneer project areas in four distinct national locations and settings to trial and test new ways of working that benefit the local environments. The settings are a river catchment (Lancashire and Cumbria), an urban area (Greater Manchester), landscape (Devon), and marine (east and west coastal locations).

Greater Manchester selected for Defra pioneering environmental plan
Greater Manchester one of four UK regions selected for Defra’s pioneering environmental project

Led in Greater Manchester by Stockport’s Leader of the Council Alex Ganotis, the environment plan will help to shape their long-term approach for the UK’s natural environment.

The ideas that are developed as part of these projects can be used in other parts of the country to help everyone make better decisions to protect and improve the environment.

Cllr Alex Ganotis, Greater Manchester’s Green City Region lead, said:

“That Greater Manchester has been selected to be the UK’s national urban pioneer city region is testament to the hard work being done by our local communities and partner agencies to better support our environment and achieve carbon neutrality.

“This will also feed into the work of our Green Summit in March, where we will be developing our ambitious goal of becoming a carbon-neutral city; acting now to prevent further damage to our environment and create a greener, healthier and more attractive region for the people who live and work here.”

The Green Summit, called for by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, takes place on 21 March 2018. Following a consultation phase, it will bring together environmental experts, interest groups, partner agencies, academics and local people together to establish a ‘green charter’, accelerate Greater Manchester’s green ambitions, and explore the earliest possible milestones for achieving carbon neutrality.

The Environment Agency coordinates the Urban Pioneer, working closely with Greater Manchester. Lee Rawlinson Area Director (GMMC) and Mark Easedale Greater Manchester Area Manager are key contributors to the Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub and this strong track record of collaboration, alongside Greater Manchester’s clear green city ambition, was pivotal to placing the Urban Pioneer in Greater Manchester.

Projects that will be supporting and feeding into the ‘Urban Pioneer’ project include: Natural Course (; the region’s climate resilience activities, in particular the RESIN project (; and other joint work with the Environment Agency North West.

Image: © Copyright Stephen Burton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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