Zemgale Planning Region together with all ENGRAVE project partners had an opportunity to participate in the study visit to Manchester and its surroundings. The aim of the study visit was to increase the capacity of the project team by learning on planning approaches, on cooperation with different stakeholders, as well as on practical river restoration activities. The activities took place for several days to various organisations in different locations.
During the first days the ENGRAVE project team started visit of Mersey River and its tributaries around Manchester with Mike Duddy and Caroline Riley from Mersey River trust and Mark Turner from Greater Manchester Combined Authority. Representatives from Mersey River trust exchanged their experience with project partners on Catchment-Based Approach partnership, on Nature Course and Carbon landscape projects. The team visited Kersal wetlands, walked along the river River Irk in North Manchester and restored green infrastructure sites, visited Salford Quays and the River Bollin in South Manchester and Cheshire. This first day of study visit gave the opportunity to project partners to focus on green infrastructure, river restoration, flood control measures, water quality improvement, biodiversity, invasive species control and management, aeration, stakeholder and public involvement in volunteering activities and educational issues.
The second study visit day started with the visit of Peak District National Park where the Mersey River begins together with Rebecca Cassidy and Chris Fry and Mollie Hunt from Moor for the Future and Jane Newman and Dave Watts from Peak District National Park Authority. Park team and experts shared their experience on principles of landscape and spatial planning in nature conservation areas, green infrastructure management issues in nature parks, measures of wetland restoration and flood control in the national park. The ENGRAVE team met with Rebecca Cassidy in revamped Moorland Visitor Centre that is the start of visit the spectacular area of the Peak District National Park. After the walking tour of Hathersage with Jane Newman followed the visit of Cycle trails in the Peak District with Dave Watts discussing the path management issues by involving volunteers from local surroundings and communities. During the walk in the High Peak with Chris Fry and Mollie Hunt showed the implemented measures for the restoration of blanket bog on the moors.
The last study trip day started with visit of estuary of Mersey River in Liverpool with Paul Corner and Caroline Riley from Mersey River trust. They provided us with exhaustive information on the historic significance of the river in the industrial revolution and its impact on the Mersey River, industrial town Manchester and port town Liverpool. The project team visited the wide catchment area of the Mersey River: Liverpool Waterfront, Albert Docks, crossing the River Mersey by driving through the tunnel under the river on the other side of Mersey River, Port Sunlight River Park and the Rivacre Brook. Paul Corner and Caroline Riley focused on river restoration, planning principles, flood management and water quality issues, problems and solutions for improving water quality, environmental awareness raising people’s enthusiasm and taking care of preserving natural resources.
Within these three study visit days the ENGRAVE project team gained knowledge and experience in landscape planning issues, flooding control measures, management on different aspects of the environment, invasive species management, green infrastructure, river restoration, water quality improvement, biodiversity, aeration, stakeholder and public involvement in volunteering activities and educational issues, principles of landscape and spatial planning in nature conservation areas, green infrastructure management issues in nature parks, measures of wetland restoration and flood control in the national park.