Greater Manchester and Cumbria have been chosen as two of four national “green pioneers” as part of the Government’s 25-year environmental strategy, outlined by the Prime Minister and environment secretary Michael Gove this week.
The Government’s policy, detailed in a document from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, includes four regions as “pioneers”, who are tasked with developing innovative funding opportunities for environmental schemes; applying a natural capital approach to decision making; and demonstrating “integrated approaches” to planning and delivery.
These approaches and findings from the pilot schemes will then be available to be used in other parts of the country for environmental protection measures and planning.
Cumbria has been chosen as a “catchment pioneer” and will work with the Environment Agency to test new governance models for river catchment areas, and will examine how different agencies can work together to secure environmental permits for development.
It will also support other measures including increased tree planting, restoring peatlands, the delivery of a new environmental land management system, and will work alongside the Lake District National Park Authority on conservation initiatives.
Greater Manchester has also been picked as the UK’s “urban pioneer”, which will look at policies including urban tree planting, flood management, sustainable drainage, and creating green infrastructure.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham is also due to host a Green Summit on 21 March, which will establish a “green charter” to explore the earliest possible milestones for making Manchester a carbon neutral city.
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.”
Alongside Greater Manchester, North Devon has been picked as “landscape pioneer” and North Devon and the Suffolk coast have been chosen as “marine pioneers”.