Landowners throughout Calderdale have been reaping the benefits of funding aimed at naturally managing flood risk in the region.
Administered by Calderdale Council and backed by the Environment Agency, the Calderdale Natural Flood Management (NFM) landowner grant scheme has allocated nearly one million pounds to private landowners in Calderdale since 2018. This funding aids in implementing measures on private land to mitigate downstream flooding.
In the fourth round (2022/23) of the grant scheme, £443,806 has been designated for 23 successful projects. These initiatives encompass the planting of over 4,500 new native trees, the construction of 84 new leaky dams, the installation of nearly 6,000 metres of new cross-contour hedging, the management of over 47 hectares of woodland, and the removal of invasive non-native plants. Other projects involve the construction of attenuation basins that store substantial amounts of water, gradually releasing it once the rain subsides.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Action, Active Travel and Housing, Cllr Scott Patient, said; “Natural flood management plays a key role in our Flood Action Plan, with various natural interventions supporting flood resilience and complementing engineering works in the borough by slowing down the flow of water coming off the hillsides.
“Through the NFM landowner grant scheme, we’ve been able to support local landowners to introduce appropriate NFM measures on their land. We’ve assessed the Calderdale landscape to identify where these measures will have the most impact and supported landowners with advice about the most suitable and effective measures for their land.”
Environment Agency Flood Advisor, Sally Kelling, said; “Working in partnership with private landowners, community and third sector partners is enabling the scale-up of NFM across Calderdale. We know that by working together with local landowners we can achieve greater flood resilience and deliver other important environmental benefits for the whole community.”
Landowners across the region who are interested in this initiative can reach out to NFM@calderdale.gov.uk for guidance on the suitability of their land and potential interventions.
One local landowner, Jenny Adams, received grant funding after being advised that her sloping land was an ideal location for natural flood management. The planting has slowed the flow of floodwater before it reaches the River Calder, thereby reducing the risk of flooding in the Calder Valley. The identified area of land had several old, collapsed drains, making it unsafe for grazing, so the installation of an attenuation pond was an ideal solution.
Jenny said; “The application for a Landowner Grant was very straightforward. We had a lot of help and support with the process from Ben Fenton, Natural Flood Management Project Officer with Calderdale Council.
“With Ben’s encouragement, we have now applied to extend the project with more hedge planting. The hedging will provide habitat for birds as well as enhance the effectiveness of the flood management.”
In addition to the larger NFM schemes, there are individual measures that can be taken in homes and gardens to contribute to flood resilience. Small interventions, known as Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), such as green roofs, permeable paving, raised planters, and attenuation ponds, could lead to a significant amount of water being temporarily stored during storm events in urban areas.
For further information about Natural Flood Management and SuDS, please visit https://eyeoncalderdale.com/natural-flood-management/.