Manchester City Council has appointed The Environment Partnership (TEP) to produce river valley strategies for Manchester’s three main rivers.
According to the council, the Irk, Medlock and Mersey rivers contribute to the quality of Manchester’s communities and businesses, by providing ecosystem services such as boosting health and wellbeing and increasing property values.
The TEP partnership will help to inform the city’s local plan and will guide investments and work programmes with the City Council, Environment Agency and water companies.
The aim of the project is to continue the transformation of the river valleys into healthy fully-functioning ecosystems, which can be enjoyed by all of the city’s communities.
The work is guided by the concept of a ‘Sponge City.’ This is where urban water management is integrated into planning policy and design, the aim is to ensure that the appropriate infrastructure is in place to collect, store and treat rainwater so that pollution and flooding are minimised.
Experts in stakeholder and community engagement company, Groundwork, will ensure that the plans are robust and underpinned by the views of communities within the river valleys.
The Mersey Rivers Trust will also support TEP with advice on the challenges, including sewerage, sediment and contaminated land.
Director of TEP, Francis Hesketh said: ‘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.’
Deborah Murry, director of Groundwork added: ‘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 and Mersey Rivers Trust will be able to demonstrate its value and create a best practice model for the future.’