Creating a fairer Salford by:
22.1 Green infrastructure is defined in the National Planning Policy Framework as a “network of multi-functional green space, urban and rural, which is capable of delivering a wide range of environmental and quality of life benefits for local communities”. It also includes ‘blue’ features such as ponds, rivers and canals.
22.2 Green infrastructure is essential to the success of Salford, not just because of the wide variety of environmental objectives that it helps to meet but also because it improves quality of life, supports economic growth, enhances the image of the city, assists in mitigating the impacts of climate change, and promotes social objectives such as good physical and mental health and wellbeing. Hence, investment in green infrastructure, such as the new RHS Garden Bridgewater, is an investment in the long-term health and prosperity of the city, its residents and its businesses.
22.3 The overarching aim is to establish a comprehensive, high quality network of green infrastructure throughout Salford, extending into surrounding districts. It will be important to ensure that all areas of Salford benefit from the provision of accessible and high quality green infrastructure, including within the more densely developed areas of the city. The green infrastructure network therefore needs to stretch throughout the whole city, and this will require the provision of new pieces of green infrastructure as well as the appropriate protection and improvement of existing ones. The contribution of Salford’s green infrastructure to the wider Greater Manchester network also needs to be recognised, and Chat Moss (see policy GI2) and the Irwell Valley (policy GI3) in particular are considered to be of sub-regional importance. Within the city, the West Salford Greenway (policy GI4) is also of strategic significance.
Download a full size version of figure 16 - Green infrastructure of strategic significance (Adobe PDF format, 567kb)
22.4 Given the vital contribution of green infrastructure to the future success of the city, it will be essential that new developments protect existing and incorporate new green infrastructure wherever possible. This will help to ensure that all parts of the city benefit from high quality and accessible green infrastructure, and will avoid a disproportionate burden falling on any individual sites or developments.
22.5 Its immense benefits, coupled with competing pressures on land resources, means that ideally there would always be far more green infrastructure available than it is possible to provide in practice. This necessitates thinking creatively about the opportunities to incorporate green infrastructure into developments, utilising buildings, streets and landscaping to increase the overall level of greenery as well as specifically setting aside land for green infrastructure. It also makes it important to maximise the range of functions that individual pieces of green infrastructure can support as far as practicable, whilst recognising that it may be appropriate to prioritise certain functions given the particular site context and that tensions between different functions will need to be managed. This enables the maximum advantage to be derived from the green infrastructure as well as representing a more efficient use of land. Ensuring that green infrastructure features are interconnected will further enhance their functionality, for example by enabling the more successful dispersal of flora and fauna, and providing more continuous attractive pedestrian and cycling routes. The ongoing management and maintenance of green infrastructure features such as woodland, trees and reed beds will be important in enabling it to continue to fulfil its various functions.
Development shall protect and enhance the green infrastructure network in Salford by helping to maximise its:
In complying with the above points, developments shall:
Appropriate functions of green infrastructure may include:
Within the following parts of the city, some of which overlap, the provision and improvement of green infrastructure shall support and enhance the identified priority functions as far as practicable:
The definition of green infrastructure encompasses a wide variety of green and/or open features, including the countryside, parks, playing fields, public squares, rivers, canals, ponds, hedgerows, grass verges, trees, private gardens, green roofs and green walls.
Download a full size version of figure 17 - Green infrastructure priority functions (Adobe PDF format, 470kb)
22.6 Chat Moss provides a distinctive, flat landscape, forming part of a larger area of lowland wetlands that includes the Wigan flashes and which falls within the Great Manchester Wetlands Nature Improvement Area (see Policy BG1). Chat Moss accounts for almost 20% of Salford’s total land area, but it currently has relatively limited direct benefits for the city’s residents despite its immense potential. Consequently, a high priority for this plan is to open up public access across the whole area, providing opportunities for informal recreation activities such as walking and cycling, in a way that is consistent with enhancing biodiversity and protecting the openness of the Green Belt.
22.7 There were originally some 2,650 hectares of lowland raised bog across Chat Moss, which is one of Western Europe’s rarest and most threatened habitats with a unique range of wildlife, but there are now only around 310 hectares of relatively undamaged peat deposits primarily in Salford. The restoration of lowland raised bog can make a major contribution to achieving carbon neutrality in Salford by 2038, both reducing a significant source of emissions and locking in carbon, as well as supporting nature conservation objectives..
22.8 A Biodiversity Heartland has been identified within Chat Moss, which provides the main opportunity for securing lowland raised bog restoration. It includes several former peat extraction sites, with some parts of the area already under restoration. However, lowland raised bog restoration may not always be practicable for a variety of reasons such as the previous use of the site, the remaining depth and quality of peat, or the hydrology of the immediate area. In these circumstances, habitats that are complementary to lowland raised bog will be sought, focusing particularly on wetlands. The Biodiversity Heartland also includes Botany Bay Wood, the largest area of woodland in Greater Manchester, which contains an important heronry that is potentially of national importance.
22.9 A review of Green Belt boundaries is ongoing through the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework and some land within Chat Moss may be allocated for development in the future. Any allocations within the area covered by this policy would need to have regard to the priorities set out below.
Chat Moss, as shown on the Policies Map (GI2/1), will be protected and enhanced as a key component of Greater Manchester’s strategic green infrastructure network, forming part of a wider lowland wetland area extending into Wigan and Warrington.
There will be a strong emphasis on:
Within the Biodiversity Heartland as shown on the Policies Map (GI2/2), the priority will be to secure the restoration of lowland raised bog and the enhancement of the Botany Bay Wood site of biological importance. Elsewhere within the Biodiversity Heartland, complementary habitats shall be provided, particularly wetlands, and there will be a focus on improving habitats for species such as breeding birds, brown hare and water vole.
Any development within or near to Chat Moss shall be consistent with these priorities, and shall ensure that the capacity of the hydrology of the area to support bog restoration is not adversely affected.
22.10 The Irwell Valley is a tremendously important piece of green infrastructure, and is a key component of Greater Manchester’s strategic green infrastructure network. It fulfils a very wide range of functions, and makes a major contribution to the identity of Salford and several of its neighbourhoods. It will be essential that the valley is protected and enhanced as the city continues to grow.
22.11 Some of the valley is designated as Green Belt, but the openness of the broader area is important to its character. Some past developments have impinged on this, and any worsening of this situation needs to be avoided. The valley area contains a wide range of recreation facilities, and there is considerable potential to enhance this further. When coupled with new and improved strategic recreation routes, this will help to ensure that a large number of residents are able to easily access outdoor recreation opportunities, promoting healthy lifestyles in areas of the city that currently suffer from poor average levels of health.
22.12 Key priorities for the Irwell Valley include the management of flood risk and improvements to water quality. The area within Salford contains two flood storage basins and other flood management infrastructure, but also includes a significant number of properties at risk of flooding. The water policies of this plan (see Chapter 18) set out the overall approach to addressing flood risk issues, including by carefully controlling new development, but actions will also be required further upstream outside Salford in order to reduce the peak flows of water entering the city. Improvements to water quality and the associated waterside environments are still required throughout the Irwell Catchment in order to achieve the North West River Basin Management Plan objectives (see Policy WA1).
22.13 The Irwell Valley is home to a varied range of environmental and historic assets, including several sites of biological importance, half of the city’s existing and proposed local nature reserves, Salford’s only area of ancient woodland, parts of two conservation areas, sections of the former Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal, and historic open spaces such as Peel Park. This quantity and diversity of such assets is a key strength of the area, providing a wide range of benefits for local communities, and their protection and enhancement is therefore vital. There have been some successes in improving the river as a wildlife resource in recent years, and the watercourse now supports species such as otter, kingfisher and brown trout.
The Irwell Valley, as shown on the Policies Map, will be enhanced as a key landscape and wildlife corridor connecting the urban area to the countryside, forming part of a large expanse of strategic green infrastructure extending into neighbouring districts, and providing multiple environmental, social and economic benefits.
Within Salford, there will be a strong emphasis on:
22.14 The West Salford Greenway extends through the centre of the western part of the city, and is bounded by neighbourhoods in Worsley, Eccles, Swinton and Walkden. It has been formally protected by adopted planning policy since 1995, originally as the Worsley Greenway, and is highly valued by the local communities that surround it. It has a very varied nature, including a village green at Roe Green in the north of the area, a cricket ground and adjoining open land, woodland, agricultural land, Duke’s Drive local natural greenspace, and a golf course. The northern part of the area lies within the Roe Green/Beesley Green conservation area, sections of the western part lie within the St. Mark’s and Worsley Village conservation areas, and a significant section of the northern half is designated as the Worsley Woods local nature reserve and site of biological importance. The historically important Bridgewater Canal runs along the south-west edge of the Greenway, with its original feeder reservoir of Old Warke Dam in the centre of the area and its starting point at Worsley Delph, which is a scheduled ancient monument. The Greenway also has a broader importance in providing the setting for historic settlements in this part of Salford.
22.15 A loopline strategic recreation route runs from Monton Village to the south through the area before branching into two at the northern end, and is important for connecting the Greenway to surrounding communities. Several public footpaths provide access across the Greenway and link to the loopline, enabling residents in the adjoining areas to take advantage of this important green space. The individual parts of the Greenway are demonstrably special to the adjacent communities, resulting in several parts being designated as Local Green Space (see Policy GI5), but the area has a wider strategic significance in terms of the contribution it makes to the character of West Salford, including through some distinctive views. It is therefore essential that a coordinated approach is taken to protecting and enhancing its green infrastructure functions, and that built development is limited accordingly.
The West Salford Greenway, as shown on the Policies Map, will be protected and enhanced as a series of interconnected greenspaces of varied use and character, and important heritage assets, providing a major contribution to the identity and well-being of the surrounding neighbourhoods and west Salford more generally.
There will be a strong emphasis on:
22.16 The Local Green Space designation is used to identify and protect green areas that are of particular importance to local communities, and which meet specific criteria set out in national planning policy . Many green areas are protected under other policies of the Local Plan, such as recreation sites under Policy R1 and sites of biological importance under Policy BG1. The Local Green Space designation provides additional protection, similar to Green Belt, but the absence of such a designation in no way diminishes the importance afforded to other green areas.
The following sites, as shown on the Policies Map, will be protected and enhanced as designated Local Green Spaces, and will be managed in accordance with national and local Green Belt policy:
22.17 GI5/1: The Meadow is a distinctive and attractive open space located within a meander of the River Irwell, making a significant contribution to the identity of Salford. The site is well-used, positively managed for nature conservation, and valued by the local community. It is one of the few significant green spaces within the City Centre, and has an important role to play in ensuring that this part of Greater Manchester is an excellent place to live, work and visit. Improvements to public access, particularly from the Crescent and Adelphi Street, and potentially including at least one new footbridge across the River Irwell, would enable many more people to enjoy this green space, and for it to function more effectively as a City Centre park.
22.18 GI5/2: Brickfield Wood is an area of dense urban woodland, which is rare within Salford. It benefits from an informal footpath along its eastern side, connecting it to the surrounding neighbourhood and the loopline recreation route to the north. It is recognised for its nature conservation importance, forming part of the Brickfield Wood site of biological importance that also extends to the south-west, and makes a significant contribution to the character of the local area.
22.19 GI5/3: Three Sisters is a varied site incorporating a mixture of open and vegetated areas, three small ponds, marsh and neutral grassland, and contains footpaths, boardwalks, and viewing platforms for the ponds. It is designated as a local nature reserve and site of biological importance, and also contains sections of a Roman road. Local people are engaged in the management of the site through an active local ‘friends’ group, and it is well-used. This combination of recreation, biodiversity and archaeological significance is rare within the city, and the site is highly valued by the surrounding community.
22.20 GI5/4: Blackleach Country Park is a vital local resource providing a wide range of green infrastructure and recreation functions, including a woodland play area. It is a designated local nature reserve and site of biological importance, and functions as a strategic natural greenspace and district park. It supports a mosaic of habitats including open water, swamp, marsh, tall herb vegetation, species-rich neutral grassland, woodland and scrub, with the reservoir being of interest for its resident water birds and waders. It has a mixture of open and vegetated areas, connected by formal footpaths, boardwalks and viewing platforms, and benefits from a visitor centre. An active ‘friends’ group supports the Salford ranger team in managing the site, and it is well-used by the local community.
22.21 GI5/5: Roe Green makes a major contribution to the character and appearance of the Roe Green/Beesley Green conservation area. It has the character of a village green, with a mixture of open and vegetated areas, connected by tree-lined formal footpaths. It provides a range of green infrastructure and recreation functions, including a play area. An active ‘friends’ group contributes towards the management of the site, and it is well-used by the local community. The site is located within the West Salford Greenway (Policy GI4).
22.22 GI5/6: Land at Beesley Green and Kempnough Brook consists of areas of open land and woodland, which make a significant contribution towards the distinctive character, appearance and setting of the Roe Green/ Beesley Green conservation area. Beesley Green forms an open green surrounded by a cluster of buildings including the grade II listed Beesley Hall, Beesley Community Centre and areas laid out as a bowling green and tennis courts. To the south and east of the green lies Roe Green cricket pitch with its locally listed pavilion and two areas of agricultural land separated by the woodland along the course of Kempnough Brook. This combination of recreation, biodiversity and heritage significance is rare within the city, and the site is highly valued by the surrounding community. The woods are positively managed for nature conservation through an active local ‘friends’ group. The site is located within the West Salford Greenway (Policy GI4).
22.23 GI5/7: Worsley Woods, Old Warke Dam and Aviary Field is defined by its heritage and recreation assets within a woodland setting, punctuated by open land which contribute towards the distinctive character, appearance and setting of the Worsley Village conservation area. This varied local green space contains a scheduled ancient monument at Worsley Delph with its canal tunnel entrances and wharf (from 1759-60), grade II listed cottages, and The Aviary, the grade II listed hunting and fishing lodge for the 1st Earl of Ellesmere adjacent to Old Warke Dam which collects water from Kempnough Brook. The woodland of Worsley Woods is also designated as a local nature reserve and site of biological importance containing a network of public rights of way. The open areas consist of playing fields for the Bridgewater School and agricultural land, which provide open views. Local people are engaged in the management of the publicly accessible parts of the site, which are well-used, through an active local ‘friends’ group. This combination of recreation, biodiversity and heritage significance is rare within the city, and the site is highly valued by the surrounding community. The site is located within the West Salford Greenway (Policy GI4).
22.24 GI5/8: Broadoak South is defined by its openness and vistas. There is a large pond towards the south of the site, pockets of woodland around most of the boundary, and Sindsley Brook runs through the site. The site is dissected by several public rights of way that are well used, providing the only public access, including key connections between Tyldesley Loopline and the Bridgewater Canal. The site is highly valued by the surrounding community providing wide open views along the Bridgewater Canal and towards Monton Green. Broadoak South has a semi-rural character as a key aspect of Worsley’s identity, contrasting with the more urban nature of the surrounding built-up area. The site is located within the West Salford Greenway (Policy GI4).
22.25 GI5/9: Duke’s Drive is a former miniature golf course which has partially re-vegetated and has seen recent enhancements. The site now incorporates a varied mixture of open and vegetated areas, several small ponds, and grassland, and contains footpaths and boardwalks. It is identified as a local natural greenspace. Local people are engaged in the management of the site through an active local ‘friends’ group, it is well-used and is highly valued by the surrounding community. The site is located within the West Salford Greenway (Policy GI4).
22.26 GI5/10: Worsley Green makes a significant contribution to the character and appearance of the Worsley Village conservation area, being an elegant open space with a magnificent row of lime trees bordering Worsley Road, and there are a number of listed buildings fronting onto its southern side. Until the start of the twentieth century, this important green space was actually Worsley Yard, sitting at the centre of an industrial complex that had grown following the construction of the Bridgewater Canal. Evidence of the mineral railway tracks which ran into the former works yard can be detected by slight depressions in the grass, and the green contains a grade II listed ornamental commemorative fountain dedicated to the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater who commissioned the Bridgewater Canal. The site is a designated village green, and provides an important public amenity space, which is utilised for community events.
22.27 Trees, woodland and hedgerows are extremely important components of Greater Manchester’s green infrastructure network, fulfilling a very wide range of functions including sequestering and storing carbon, enhancing biodiversity, providing access to nature, managing water, air, soil and noise pollution, reducing flood risk, stabilising land, reducing soil erosion, strengthening landscape character, and providing shade and cooling to combat high temperatures. The city council supports the City of Trees target to plant a tree for every resident in Greater Manchester over the next 25 years.
22.28 Some parts of the city have significantly higher levels of tree cover than others, with trees making a major contribution to the character of certain neighbourhoods. The potential for increasing tree cover may be greater in some areas, but the vital roles of trees means that increases in provision will be sought everywhere. The inclusion of trees within development sites will often be appropriate, but where this is not practicable then street trees will be encouraged. The notable exception will be those landscapes and habitats where tree planting is generally inappropriate, in particular areas of lowland moss where there may be a need for tree removal to enhance this habitat. It will be important to ensure that new woodland protects existing habitats.
22.29 If the overall contribution of trees and woodland to Salford’s green infrastructure network is to be enhanced then it will be important to avoid harm to existing trees, and where this is not possible to secure appropriate replacements. Hedgerows typically provide one of the highest concentrations of biodiversity of any habitat, and can also be significant historic landscape features. Hence it will be important to retain the overall value of hedgerows in the city. Important hedgerows are provided additional statutory protection through The Hedgerow Regulations 1997.
The extent of tree cover across Salford will be increased, with an emphasis on native species that support wildlife and carbon sequestration, and the vital role that trees and hedgerows make to environmental quality will be protected and enhanced, through a range of measures including by:
Any new tree provision will be expected to be accompanied by an appropriate management and maintenance plan with identified financial resources to deliver it.
22.30 The main indicators that will be used to monitor this chapter are:
|Area of green infrastructure positively used for recreation||See chapter 24 Recreation||Increase (2019-2037)|
|Area of green infrastructure positively used for biodiversity purposes||See chapter 23 Biodiversity and geodiversity||Increase (2019-2037)|
|Area of green infrastructure positively used for flood risk mitigation||63 hectares ||Increase (2019-2037)|
22.31 Green infrastructure is influenced by several aspects of the Local Plan, therefore indicators in other chapters are also relevant to the delivery and monitoring of green infrastructure, particularly those on flood risk, biodiversity and recreation.
 Such as the Manchester Mosses Special Area of Conservation in Wigan and Warrington, and Rixton Clay Pits in Warrington
 Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (July 2018) National Planning Policy Framework, paragraph 100
 Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (February 2019) National Planning Policy Framework, paragraph 175c. At the time of writing defines ‘wholly exceptional reasons’ are defined as for example, infrastructure projects (including nationally significant infrastructure projects, orders under the Transport and Works Act and hybrid bills), where the public benefit would clearly outweigh the loss or deterioration of habitat.
 Unpublished work by Salford City Council