In a promising development, the initial strides have been taken towards metamorphosing the former Baildon Moor reservoir site into a flourishing wetland habitat, promising numerous advantages for both nature and the encompassing region.

Recent discussions involving Bradford Council, Baildon Town Council, and external experts have shed light on the future prospects of the 3.9-acre site. Bradford Council secured control over the site in 2021 following a protracted legal battle, marked by a prolonged period of the area succumbing to fly-tipping.

Before the restoration of the land, a process anticipated to span at least three years, several crucial steps must be executed:

  • A meticulous analysis of ground investigation data and a comprehensive assessment of remediation options for the tipped material.
  • Proposal for the treatment or removal of boundary walls and other ‘hard’ features.
  • Addressing common land and other legal intricacies.
  • Obtaining planning consent.
  • Crafting a detailed proposal encompassing all the aforementioned aspects.
  • Identifying funding sources to undertake the necessary work and bring the project to fruition.

The ultimate objective is to fashion a wetland habitat, fostering the development of peat and an active blanket bog. This transformation aims to enhance biodiversity, fortify the land against wildfires, and shield the surrounding area from potential flooding. The significance of peat in sequestering carbon is noteworthy, as it has been proven to store twice as much carbon as forests, making it a formidable counterforce against the impacts of greenhouse gases.

Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Transport and Planning, said: “The work needed to achieve a wetland habitat which would complement the existing moorland will not be possible without a long process to remediate and restore the land. But it will be worth it for the great benefits it will reap for the site and for the people of Baildon.”

Upon the development of a viable outline scheme, the public will be engaged, seeking their perspectives and tapping into their wealth of local knowledge to shape the project further.

The realisation of these ambitious plans is contingent on securing the necessary funding.