£1m pot approved to continue natural flood management projects in Calderdale

A new £1 million pot of money has been approved to continue natural flood management projects in Calderdale.

Tuesday, 14th December 2021, 6:00 am

Natural flood management plays an important role alongside hard structure projects like the recently completed Mytholmroyd Flood Alleviation Scheme to protect people as much as possible from flooding.

It has also proved to be good value for money, Calderdale Flood Recovery and Resilience Programme Board heard.

But initial funding of £1 million has now been used up.

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An attenuation basin in Calderdale, as an example of natural flood management (NFM). Picture: Calderdale Council

Yorkshire Water’s Granville Davies, lead for natural flood management among board partners, said more funding was needed to keep work, ranging from tree planting and building leaky dams to working with Calderdale landowners to slow the flow of water during flooding, going.

Mr Davies said if the money was released it was likely there would be other multiple offers for funding coming up, but not in one lump sum.

But where these were obtained they could be fed back into the overall programme, he said.

The scheme had shown its worth, said Mr Davies, with a waiting list for grants made available to landowners to take part in projects with partners.

“I think it would be good if we could extend work through the whole of the valley.

“It will allow us to build on the momentum we have got,” he said.

Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Mytholmroyd) said she agreed with the caveat the board also looked for money from other sources including the private sector too.

Coun Stephen Baines (Con, Northowram and Self) also urged the board to make the money available.

“I have heard the proof this is a really successful scheme which does a lot of good for the valley with retrospectively very little cost and good value for money,” he said.

Calderdale Council’s Chief Executive, Robin Tuddenham, agreed and said the council needed to be sharper arguing the value-for-money case for natural flood management, which was “powerful”.

“If I am talking to Whitehall or the Treasury about this, I want to show investment per pound – the benefits per pound of spend is significant,” he said.

Board members, who approved releasing a new £1 million pot, heard the initial funding has been used to deliver actions to mitigate flooding.

As well as work with landowners, more than 700 hectares of moorland have been planted with new sphagnum moss, more than 600 “leaky dams” have been installed by Slow The Flow at Hardcastle Crags, 112,245 trees have been planted at Gorpley Reservoir above Todmorden, creating 68 hectares of woodland, 25,000 cubic metres worth of water storage areas have been created and 20 hectares of moorland re-vegetated.

An additional 75,000 trees and more than 2,000 metres of hedge have also been planted across Calderdale by more than 4,000 volunteers taking part in projects organised by more than 20 partner groups, board members heard.

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