Irwell Catchment; Investigating Payment for Ecosystem Services

Project description: 

The overall aim of the study is to explore the feasibility of establishing a new Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) scheme funded by private sector businesses in Manchester and Salford City Centre adjacent to the River Irwell, Greater Manchester. PES is the term used to describe ‘schemes in which the beneficiaries, or users, of ecosystem services provide payment to the stewards, or providers, of ecosystem services’ (URS, 2013). The pilot study began by identifying saleable ecosystem services through desk-based reviews, site visits and engagement with key stakeholders. This led to the identification of six priority ecosystem services provided within the study area: cooling of the urban heat island; surface water/flood management; visual/aesthetic; recreation and green travel routes; water quality; and habitat and wildlife corridor provision. Site visits and desk-based reviews identified where enhancement of ecosystem services could be delivered and the benefits these services would provide to commercial businesses. The pilot study then identified prospective buyers and sellers and interviewed commercial property owners/businesses to explore perceptions of PES. Further dialogue with commercial property owners investigated opportunities and challenges that arose.

Organisations involved: 

Centre for Local Economic Strategies; Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside; DEFRA 

Scale of project: 
River Irwell, Salford and Greater Manchester
Total area covered by project: 
2 (sq. km)
Special purposes of project: 
Map economic values of ecosystem services
What ecosystem service classification was used?: 


Which ecosystem services were focused on?: 

  • Aesthetic/inspiration
  • Recreation/tourism
  • Climate regulation
  • Detoxification and purification in air, soils and water
  • Flood control
  • Hazard regulation
Other ecosystem services included: 

Habitat and wildlife corridor provision

Habitats mapped for ecosystem services: 
Freshwater, wetlands and floodplains
Further detail on habitats: 


Notes on sources of baseline data used: 

Data was collected through a desk-based review of various datasets, site visits, and meetings with key stakeholders

Contact name: 
Lancashire Wildlife Trust
Contact job title: 
Lead organisation involved in pilot case study
Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Greater Manchester Office
The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester & North Merseyside, 499/511 Bury Road, Bolton, Greater Manchester, BL2 6DH
01204 663754