Manchester’s message of collaboration

Polypipe Civils & Green Urbanisation’s inaugural Realising Resilience e-Roadshow event on Wednesday 17th June, which attracted over 80 delegates, shone a light on Greater Manchester and the great strides it is taking towards embedding green infrastructure throughout the region.

“One of the strong messages to emerge from the diverse line-up of speakers was the importance of collaboration between a wide range of stakeholders in delivering green urbanisation. One simply can’t just look to ecologists, landscape architects and designers; utility companies, private investors and data analysts are all part of a successful mix,” explained Sean Robinson, Specification Director, who hosted the event.

Nicholas Wright, Specification Manager, City & Landscape Polypipe Civils & Green Urbanisation, opened the event with a look back at Manchester’s Angel Gardens. Completed in 2019, this project boasts a large Permavoid, shallow invert attenuation tank situated on the podium which limited the impact to the surrounding drainage infrastructure. He also explained how if this project was designed today the addition of more green assets and smart systems – like the ones installed on Polypipe’s own award-winning, blue/green roof in Aylesford – could have boosted this development’s resilience further.

Sophie Tucker, United Utilities’ Sustainable Drainage System Manager, spoke of her organisation’s role in encouraging the installation of blue/green roofs in the North West, with retrofit a particular focus. United Utilities is incentivising this with significant reductions in sewage charges to non-household customers who deploy SuDS such as blue/green roofs.

John Roberts, Principal Civil Engineer at specialist consultancy Environmental Protection Group provided an insight into the design of cascade blue roof systems. Such set-ups add even more resilience by reducing discharge into sewers and reducing the need for potable water by allowing the movement of water between roof areas and attenuation zones, and making this water available for passive irrigation to support green assets.

Samuel Evans, Head of Environment Policy, at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, outlined how the authority is working to encourage private investment in natural capital. Exciting plans are already afoot to form a portfolio of retrofit projects, where the savings in sewer charges offered by United Utilities could provide a return on investment for would-be funders.

The final speaker, Francis Hesketh, director at the Environmental Partnership, explained the value of ecosystem services. Both he and Evans referenced Greater Manchester’s impressive resource which now contains an overlay providing a colour-coded Ecosystem Services score which will help inform planning and biodiversity net gain goals.

Polypipe’s next e-roadshow, which will tell the story of Wales’ SuDS journey, is on 23 June and features speakers from Cardiff City Council, Kew Planning and Noel Isherwood Architects. Realising Resilience events centred on Birmingham and London follow on 30 June and 7 July respectively.

For information on the full programme and details of how to register visit: –

Pic caption: The move to a shallow invert Permavoid attenuation solution on Angel Gardens, Manchester, allowed the creation of a two storey, 146 space basement car park.


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