New project offers creative solutions to reduce flood risk

Artworks by Trudi Entwistle

An exciting new project has now launched to create a series of artworks within the Upper Calder Valley, not only raising awareness of the damage caused by climate change, but also helping to reduce its impact.

The Art as Natural Flood Management project will see the creation of artworks that will also act as natural flood management measures, replicating natural processes and slowing down rainfall on its journey down Calderdale’s steep valley.

Trudi Entwistle, a local artist with a focus on landscape, sculpture and design, has been appointed as artist in residence and will spend time in the beautiful Upper Calder Valley region, particularly working in the Hebden Bridge and Todmorden areas, exploring and developing creative proposals. Other artists already signed up to the project also include Andy Goldsworthy and David Nash. Further opportunities will be available as the project develops.

The project has been inspired by the ongoing community-led work to install natural processes to prevent flooding. Natural Flood Management takes inspiration from nature to slow down water flowing downhill and therefore reduce flood risk. It’s being used as a key tool to tackle flooding in Calderdale, as part of a range of nature-based solutions to mitigate the potential impacts of climate change.

By combining this important work with creative artworks or projects it can also play a powerful role in motivating people to think more about the environment and individual actions that can be taken to tackle the impacts of climate change.

The project has been initially funded utilising grants from the Government’s Welcome Back fund, which is supported by the European Regional Development fund. Additional funding to develop the project further is now being sought to progress a large programme of work and build upon the education elements of the project.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Resilience, Cllr Scott Patient, said:

“Natural Flood Management (NFM) is an important part of our flood prevention work, providing natural solutions to slow the flow of water from our steep-sided valleys and reduce flooding downstream.

“As climate change makes extreme weather events more likely, flooding is an ongoing concern for many in Calderdale. We all need to think about how our own actions can help tackle the climate crisis and by combining NFM solutions with creative artworks it raises further awareness of the issue as well as performing an important function.

“The appointed artist in residence will spend time exploring rural Calderdale to find inspiration and develop creative ideas which both enrich and protect our distinctive landscapes. The works will also highlight the beauty of our environment, opening up new areas of the countryside and attracting visitors.”