As the first UK city to join this important global initiative, Manchester hopes to set a precedent and show others that we all have a responsibility to cherish and develop our city-forest relationships. Greater Manchester has always been committed to bringing communities and organisations together to make our spaces and places greener and more climate resilient. On behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, we are thrilled to announce our partnership with the Cities4Forests campaign.
“Our ambition is to make Greater Manchester one of the leading green cities in Europe and the Green Summit put us very firmly on the path to achieving that vision. We’re thrilled to be part of Cities4Forests and will be working with City of Trees and other partners to make Greater Manchester greener and healthier, the best place in the world to grow up, get on and grow old.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester, United Kingdom
One of our key environmental organisations – City of Trees – is leading an innovative and exciting movement set to re-invigorate Greater Manchester’s landscape by restoring underused, unloved woodland and planting a tree for every man, woman and child that lives in the City Region, within a generation. That’s a goal to plant 3 million trees and bring 2,000 hectares of unmanaged woodland back into use for the community. And we’re just getting started.
Our greatest hope is to connect people to the trees and woods around them, both physically and by educating them on the importance of our green spaces in helping to improve the quality of our air, boosting climate resilience, reducing the risk of flooding and improving health and well-being.
Building on previous investment, plans are in place to transform the huge site on the edge of Manchester City Centre into a world class green space, creating an amazing forest for the people.
The project brings together over 330 hectares of key green spaces and woods with the vision of creating a vast urban forest the same size and scale as New York’s Central Park. Located close to Manchester City Centre, the sites cover areas of Salford, Bolton and Bury. The project brings together the area’s rich history and heritage from Pilkington Tiles to poetry. For centuries, it was home to coal mining and chemical works with coal-fired power stations formerly dominating the skyline.
Environmentally diverse, the site is home to a 250,000 trees and has varied habitat including woodland, meadow heath and wetland as well as incorporating nearly 60 hectares of designated biodiversity sites. The aim is to create a great place for people to visit and enjoy, connecting city to country: a green beating heart for Greater Manchester: a natural space for recreation, culture, wildlife and well-being.
From the industrial revolution to the green revolution
Manchester was a leading city of the industrial revolution, acquiring the nickname of Cottonopolis due to its important textile manufacturing industry. Many migrated to the city eager to find work in the new factories and mills. As a consequence, during the 18th century, Manchester’s population grew almost tenfold, to 89,000 people. City planning was in its infancy and the rapid urbanization gave rise to many challenges, such of the provision of clean water and urban infrastructure. Today, these problems are solved, but citizens are still mostly disconnected from nature. That is why the City of Trees initiative aims to plant three million trees – one tree for every man, woman and child – in Greater Manchester over the next 25 years. “We will be working with City of Trees and other partners to make Greater Manchester greener and healthier, the best place in the world to grow up, get on and grow old,” says the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham. Trees are essential to the future of cities making them healthier, more resilient and more prosperous.
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