Grant scheme offers £500,000 for natural flood management projects in West Yorkshire

Farmers and landowners in West Yorkshire can now take advantage of a grant scheme to support them to create natural flood management (NFM) works upon their land.

Calderdale Council, backed by the Environment Agency and the Woodland Trust, is offering up to £500,000 worth of grants to landowners in Calderdale, with the aim of helping them install measures on their land to support flood resilience work.

NFM is a simple but effective way of helping reduce flooding by slowing down rainwater flowing down from the uplands and flooding urban areas.

By creating interventions on higher ground that temporarily capture rainwater, it can make a difference to the amount of rainwater reaching the towns downstream.

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    Colden in Calderdale where natural flood management measures have been put in place.

    This grant gives the opportunity to create many of these interventions across Calderdale and the scheme can fund a range of activities from creating dry ponds known as attenuation basins, to thinning woodlands to allow plants to grow beneath the trees, which also slow down rainwater flowing downhill.

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    Fencing and gates are also funded where they offer protection to natural flood management interventions.

    Landowners may use NFM to benefit farming practices; reduced erosion and improvements to soil structure are common as well as a reduction in waterlogging and it is still possible that a field is useable for other farming practices.

    Applications are invited from across the council area, although applications from the Upper Calder, Walsden Water, Hebden Water and Cragg Vale areas are particularly welcome.

    Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Resilience, Coun Scott Patient, said: “As we all experience the impacts of climate change, extreme weather events, like flooding, become more likely. We want to do everything we can to minimise the impacts of the heavy rain we will inevitably experience in Calderdale and natural flood management techniques support this work in a huge way.

    “These proven interventions help to slow the flow of water from our steep-sided hills into the valleys below and complement the existing environment.

    “This grant scheme will help support landowners to install more of these measures to better protect our towns and villages. As well as funding, it offers expert advice to ensure that the most appropriate measures are installed and support with the design.”

    To date there have been three previous rounds of the grant scheme and some 30 NFM projects, including Julie Thorpe’s scheme within the Colden catchment, deemed as a priority area.

    She said: “We are lucky to have a bit of land and the contours lent themselves to creating natural flood management features.

    “It is great that Calderdale is investing in natural flood management. Whilst flood defences in the valley are necessary, pouring more and more concrete can’t be the only answer. So many NFM features have a positive impact for wildlife – win-win.”

    Applications are open until midnight on Sunday October 2 and can be done online.