The Green and Blue Space Adaptation for Urban Areas and Eco-Towns project (GRaBS) was part of the EU Interreg IVC programme and brought together 14 partners from eight countries to integrate climate change adaptation into planning and development.
The Mersey Forest's contribution was to create a range of resources including a guidance document, setting out recommended actions and delivery mechanisms to combat climate change in the North West of England using green infrastructure. This was underpinned by a searchable online evidence base, and a report, summarising key findings such as how green infrastructure keeps urban areas cool, helps wildlife adapt, and captures rain to reduce flooding. The report also mapped areas where green infrastructure could have the biggest impact in combating climate change.
This was complemented by an online mapping tool, developed by the University of Manchester, which helps users to spatially assess potential risks and vulnerabilities to climate change in their area to aid decision-making.
A set of community training materials were also developed, with Liverpool City Council through the CLASP programme, for use by practitioners to engage communities on climate issues and the role of green infrastructure.
Working alongside the Centre for Construction Innovation and TEP, developers were targeted with a toolkit to help them determine their "Green infrastructure score" and explore the green infrastructure interventions they could make in order to maximise the benefits provided by their development.
And the online STAR tools allow users to assess the potential of green infrastructure to adapt their areas to climate change. They include a surface temperature tool and a surface runoff tool. They can be used at a neighbourhood scale in the North West of England and beyond to test the impact of different scenarios of greening and development on surface temperatures and runoff, under different future climate scenarios.
We have made use of these resources to inform our ongoing work, and they have also been used by other organisations to inform their own strategies, plans, policies, programmes and initiatives. For example, the resources have been used to provide evidence for the development of Local Plans and Green Infrastructure Frameworks, and featured in a national review by Climate UK of climate change adaptation tools.
We will continue to use these tools and promote their use by others.
A shortened version of this case study appeared in our long-term strategic guide, The Mersey Forest Plan, in 2014. Read the Plan here.