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Greater Manchester declares ‘biodiversity emergency’

Greater Manchester leaders have signed a global declaration to reverse nature and biodiversity loss, as well as announcing a new climate partnership with three major cities.


Greater Manchester leaders have signed a global declaration to reverse nature and biodiversity loss, as well as announcing a new climate partnership with three major cities.

Three years after declaring a climate emergency, Greater Manchester Combined Authority has extended the alarm to biodiversity after signing the ‘Edinburgh Declaration’ – a UN-backed statement of intent committing to restore nature and reverse habitat loss.

Biodiversity – short for biological diversity – is in decline worldwide at an unprecedented rate, mainly due to urban development and climate change. Currently, 28 per cent of all species on Earth are threatened with extinction.

‘Rallying cry’

Commenting on the declaration, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said: “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.

“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.

“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.”

From May 2022, a £2.6 million ‘Green Spaces Fund’ will begin offering community grants to enhance or create new green spaces across Greater Manchester. The grants will be run under the Greater Manchester Environment Fund, which is already investing £2 million into environmental projects in the city region.

Cities working together

Meanwhile, Greater Manchester has announced a new partnership with Liverpool City Region and the cities of Dublin and Belfast to cooperate on climate action and innovation.

The partnership commits the cities to sharing best practices, knowledge and experience; connecting organisations and facilitating R&D collaborations; and coordinating joint participations at major climate events.

In a statement, the four cities said: “Climate change is the greatest challenge facing our nations and our planet. That is why, we have developed ambitious climate agendas to become more equitable, fairer, prosperous and greener cities. Each of us are committed to the protection of our economies and our people and we are firmly of the view that working together will give us the best chance of realising the benefits of transitioning to a low carbon economy.”

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