Money drying up to fund natural flood management schemes helping to protect Calderdale

Natural flood management has become an important and successful part of  flood alleviation in Calderdale – but money allocated to it has almost been used up.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 11:26 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 11:28 am

Yorkshire Water’s regional lead for water resources, clean water and catchment strategy, Granville Davies, who chairs Calderdale Natural Flood Management Operational Group, told members of Calderdale Flood Recovery and Resilience Programme Board that the time had come to discuss funding again.

To maintain momentum, further funds would be needed.

Mr Davies said: “We are reaching the point where we have allocated or spent all of that money voted over the past few years – we need to open up a conversation with the board about that.

Natural Flood Management scheme

“Hopefully, we can unlock further funding for natural flood management as we go over the next few years.”

A recent expression of interest for funding from the government’s Innovative Resilience Programme, which included £3 million to be made available for natural flood management (NFM), was unsuccessful so other opportunities are being explored, board members heard.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Climate Change and Resilience, Coun Scott Patient (Lab, Luddenden Foot), said funding had come to an end and it was a big loss losing out on Innovative Resilience Programme cash.

New Metro Mayor Tracy Brabin needed to be involved in funding and supporting natural flood management, he said.

Natural flood management began exploring effective ways of using natural processes to manage flood risk alongside “hard engineering” techniques such as the new channels and walls crfeated by projects such as the recently-completed Mytholmroyd Flood Alleviation Scheme.

An example of this has been work done in partnership with Slow The Flow, whose “leaky dams” help slow the rate water.

Grant money has also been made available to landowners to make improvements on their properties.

Mr Davies said 25 new potention natural flood management sites were receiving botanical surveys and round three of the NFM landowner grant scheme was now open – this is inviting applications from landowners around Todmorden.

Eighteen schemes under the NFM grant are now complete and a further seven partially finished, with four of the latter expected to be completed this winter.

Two more schemes are awaiting contact with the landowner and seven projects have been withdrawn by landowners, said the report.

Around £412,000 in funding has been allocated to schemes and to date £274,390.60 has been spent.

The latest, Todmorden, scheme has £70,000 available for schemes around the town, is now open and applications will be judged in early August.

Clough woodland creation, set to be undertaken through the Yorkshire Water and National Trust programme Landscapes For Water, has seen the first area to be planted identified and plans are progressing – Gorpley above Todmorden, Mr Davies said.

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