Ground-breaking IGNITION project continues to bring Greater Manchester closer to its 2030 net zero target

Categories: School of Science, Engineering and Environment

Following three years of innovative research, the €4.5 million EU funded IGNITION project, which the University of Salford is a partner, continues to establish community-scale nature-based solution projects in the region. 

Since 2019, the IGNITION project has explored nature-based solutions (NBS) such as green walls, street trees, rain gardens and sustainable draining systems to uplift green infrastructure in Greater Manchester and develop viable business models for investment into these technologies. Central to this is the IGNITION Living Lab located at the University’s main campus, which has provided a robust case for the need for retrofit installations as a means of providing vital mitigation against the effects of climate change.

IGNITION has worked with 12 industry partners, including United Utilities and the UK Environment Agency to take steps to tackle socio-environmental challenges such as flooding, water security, air quality, biodiversity and human health and wellbeing through the use of NBS.

The project has been a huge success, welcoming over 600 Living Lab tour attendees and over 6700 visitors to the virtual lab tour, as well as showcasing the initiative across 243 events.

The scheme has delivered a wealth of evidence which has informed stakeholders on subsequent investment schemes based on real life data, as well as raised awareness of the economic, environmental and well-being effects of such technologies for communities. To date, seven innovative financing models for NBS have been established, including numerous pilot sites across Greater Manchester.

The Living Lab has had a significant impact on the residential, retail and construction industries in Greater Manchester, with learning shared from the project across Greater Manchester local authorities and Transport for Greater Manchester.

Professor Hisham Elkadi, Director of IGNITION NBS Living Lab, said: "The IGNITION Living Lab will continue to provide live online data through its dashboard to support the green transformation of our cities and towns. The Living Lab is working with developers and researchers to test, through a complex network of sensors, the viability of new generations of green technologies.  It is a unique world open lab to test innovations in new Nature-Based Solutions."

An upcoming event at Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Bridgewater on the 27 May will showcase the IGNITION project celebrating community contributions and demonstrating the importance of plants and nature in creating resilient and healthy spaces for people and the planet to coexist.

Find out more about the IGNITION Living Lab.


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