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Updated Apr 1, 2022

Greater Manchester leaders declare biodiversity emergency

Manchester City Council have signed the 'Edinburgh declaration', effectively declaring a biodiversity emergency.

The 'Edinburgh declaration' is a statement of intent that makes a commitment to tackling climate change and biodiversity loss by integrating nature-based solutions into city planning. It declares that cities and local authorities are responsible for delivering the change required to reverse biodiversity loss. Multiple mayors, council leaders and ministers globally have now signed the declaration.

Leaders in Greater Manchester have set out a series of projects and initiatives in order to recover and restore biodiversity, reverse habitat loss and explore what more can be done. The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has already declared a climate emergency and is seeking to hit carbon neutrality by 2038, which is 12 years sooner than the national 2050 target.

As part of their strategy, they have set up a new Green Spaces fund, which currently has £2.6 million set aside for enhancing and creating community green spaces.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester commented: "There is little doubt that Greater Manchester’s biodiversity has taken a hit over the years, with habitats being lost, destroyed and becoming less diverse due to the impact of development, climate change, pollution and invasive species."

"And these changes have had wider impacts on the city-region and the ability of the natural environment to provide the ecosystems we rely on. Our peatlands are less able to store carbon, our uplands are less able to reduce flood risk further downstream and our urban parks and green spaces are under pressure to provide quality environments to improve people’s physical and mental health."

"But we are committed to delivering a city-region for all residents to enjoy – a fairer, greener and more prosperous place for everyone. Taking this step in signing the Edinburgh Declaration and declaring a biodiversity emergency will act as a rallying cry for us to drive forward our already-developed and ambitious environmental strategies, and continue to lead the way."