Manchester City Council appoints TEP

Heaton Park, Manchester

Manchester City Council has appointed TEP to produce River Valley Strategies and Action Plans for the rivers Irk, Medlock and Mersey. TEP will be working alongside colleagues at Groundwork with support from Mersey Rivers Trust and Vivid Economics.

Now more than ever, our green spaces are key to the City’s vision of Manchester as a world class, liveable city.  The Irk, Medlock and Mersey are the City of Manchester’s three main rivers. Their valleys and tributaries comprise a significant proportion of the City’s total green and blue infrastructure resource so their conservation and enhancement must be considered at both local and city wide levels. Individually the Irk, Medlock and Mersey contribute to the quality of Manchester’s communities and businesses. The green and blue infrastructure within the river valleys provide ecosystem services ranging from boosting health and wellbeing to increasing property values. Together the river valleys are critical for the City’s growth, supporting Manchester’s vision of a healthy, liveable, connected city where people choose to live, work, rest, play and invest. 

The strategies will inform the City’s emerging Local Plan and will guide investments and work programmes of the City Council, Environment Agency, developers and water companies. The aim is to continue the transformation of the river valleys into healthy fully-functioning ecosystems, enjoyed by all the City’s communities. The work is guided by the concept of the “Sponge City”, an idea shared by Manchester and its Chinese sister city, Wuhan.

A sponge city integrates urban water management into planning policies and designs. It has the appropriate planning and legal frameworks and tools in place to implement, maintain and adapt its infrastructure to collect, store and treat rainwater so that pollution and flooding are minimised.

Experts in stakeholder and community engagement Groundwork Greater Manchester, will ensure that the strategies and action plans are robust and underpinned by the views of communities within the river valleys and other stakeholders who will be important in delivering the action plans. The Mersey Rivers Trust has been actively engaged in improving the rivers of the Mersey Basin for 25 years and will support TEP with expert advice and guidance on the challenges, including issues surrounding urban run-off, sewerage misconnections, sediment and contaminated land. Vivid Economics, who worked with TEP on the natural capital accounts for the Irwell Catchment, will advise on funding mechanisms and models to deliver the river valley action plans.

We are delighted to be working on this vital project, which will support Manchester’s vision of becoming a thriving, sustainable and connected city. The challenge will be to understand and integrate the many projects, developments and initiatives that affect the urban water environment. However, we are confident that together, we can create strategies and action plans that will encourage growth and benefit Greater Manchester for years to come.
TEP’s Director Francis Hesketh

Groundwork Greater Manchester in collaboration with the Mersey Rivers Trust is delighted to partner TEP on the delivery of the Manchester River Valleys Strategies. This is an exciting commission which creates an opportunity to put blue and green infrastructure at the heart of the city’s policies and plans.  As a not for profit organisation active for over 25 years in Manchester’s communities, we are uniquely positioned to bring the voice of local people to the commission, using a variety of flexible and creative techniques to engage and involve at the neighbourhood level.  This formal collaboration between private and civil sector partners is relatively unusual in consultancy but I am confident that TEP, Groundwork, Mersey Rivers Trust and Vivid Economics will be able to demonstrate its value and create a best practice model for the future.
Groundwork Greater Manchester’s Director, Deborah Murray

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Alice Kennedy by emailing