Natural approach to flood risk management to be tested in Bradford

Article dated Wednesday Aug 15, 2018 at 03:18 PM

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Natural measures to reduce flood risk, which include enhancement of woodland and wetland areas on Harden Moor will be tested in a pilot scheme to launch in Bradford.

Harden Moor has been identified as one of five pilot natural flood management sites being created in the River Aire catchment as part of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme phase 2. Natural Flood Management work on the Moor is being led by the Environment Agency and Leeds City Council in partnership with Bradford Council.

The natural flood management programme through the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme is aiming to use natural methods to 'slow to flow of water' from upstream in the catchment. This includes land management to reduce water run-off, woodland creation to increase tree canopy cover and river and flood plain restoration so that the landscape can hold more water in times of flood.

The natural flood management design for Harden Moor is currently being developed by Bradford Council through the White Rose Forest and will be available for community consultation in mid-August. It is likely to include interventions such as wetland creation areas and drainage improvements across the site to 'slow the flow' of water into Harden Beck which is a major tributary to the River Aire. 

Any measures implemented on Harden Moor will contribute to a local flood risk reduction and wider environmental benefits. It is all aiming to provide improvements to the site which are sensitive to the surrounding landscape and ‘slow the flow’ of water locally and to downstream communities.

The project has two community consultation events planned for the team to be on hand to talk about the initial design and get feedback before it is developed into a final scheme this autumn. We welcome you to attend to share your feedback with us at the following events:

  • Tuesday 21 August - 11am to 3pm - Woodbank Nurseries foyer, Harden Rd, Harden, Bingley BD16 1BE.
  • Thursday 23 August, 5pm to 7.30pm - The Malt pub, Wilsden Rd, Harden, Wilsden, Bingley BD16 1BG (find us near the main entrance).

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said: “The use of natural flood management to help reduce flood risk and control the flow of water is an important part of the second phase of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme.

“Using nature and the landscape to help do the job for us means we can work with landowners and stakeholders in very much a combined team approach to achieve what we all want – to reduce the risk of flooding and its impact as much as we can.

“This will very much still need to be supported by engineering solutions to achieve the level of protection we need, and that is why we must and will continue to make the case for the phase two plans.”

Chris Milburn, project executive at the Environment Agency, said: “We are committed to reducing flood risk and improving the environment. Many of our flood alleviation schemes feature a mixture of hard and soft engineering and natural flood management to protect communities whilst creating habitat for wildlife.

“This pilot project in the Aire catchment, which uses natural flood management, provides us with a fantastic opportunity to work with farmers and landowners to secure potential sites to trial new techniques and develop local plans for the future.”

Coun Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “This is an exciting project that will not only help to reduce flood risk to the immediate settlements of Harden and Bingley, but will help reduce flows and water levels along the River Aire as it passes through Bradford.

“The approach to using Natural Flood Management will also provide multiple environmental benefits by improving water quality and creating habitats for wildlife in watercourses on Harden Moor.”

The Outline Business Case for the funding of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme including catchment wide works is currently being progressed with a decision expected in spring 2019. This which will enable the natural flood management programme to be extended in the River Aire catchment following the current pilot year which will run until March 2019.

Communities or landowners interested in finding out more about the natural flood management pilot or to bring forward any potential land for the project can contact the team by emailing:

You can also read more about the project here:

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