Ecosystem Services Appointment in Greater Manchester

Medlock Habitats

TEP and Vivid Economics have been appointed by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to produce an assessment of the opportunities to uplift ecosystem services on rivers in the Irwell Catchment.  The work is funded by the Natural Course programme.

Many of the rivers flowing through Greater Manchester are defined in the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) as “Heavily Modified Water Bodies” (HMWBs).

Natural Course is an EU LIFE Integrated Project aimed at integrated water management and accelerating delivery of the objectives of the WFD in respect of water quality and improved flood risk management.

Natural Course is delivered by a partnership comprising the Environment Agency, United Utilities, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), the Rivers Trust and Natural England.

A specific action of Natural Course is to identify opportunities to improve heavily modified rivers and associated floodplains, with a view to improving the “ecosystem services” they provide to society.  Rivers and floodplains provide valuable services such as recreation, flood management, amenity, biodiversity, fisheries and even provide a “natural health service” offering an opportunity for people to improve health and wellbeing through contact with the natural environment.

Collectively these ecosystem services can be valued using an approach known as Natural Capital Accounting (NCA). NCA quantifies and describes the multiple benefits flowing to society from the environment.  In the context of the River Irwell catchment, improvements to rivers and floodplains can increase their natural capital.

TEP and Vivid Economics will assess the ecosystem services flowing from the rivers in the Irwell Catchment and provide evidence to promote investment in projects which protect and enhance its natural capital.

Read more about the project.

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