Celebrating the distinctiveness of Calderdale and its flood programme

Mytholmroyd flood alleviation scheme

Calderdale Council is celebrating the distinctiveness of the borough with a special social media takeover.

The Vision2024 distinctiveness takeover started on Monday 13 March and runs until Friday 17 March. Throughout the week, the Council is sharing content on its social media channels about distinctiveness – one of the five themes of the Vision 2024 for Calderdale.

Calderdale’s landscape is part of what makes the borough distinctive. The steep-sided valleys make for dramatic scenery, but with more frequent extreme weather as a result of climate change, they also contribute to the increased flood-risk in the borough. During periods of heavy rain, water can travel quickly down the hillsides, causing river levels to rapidly rise.

The Council works with its partners, including the Environment Agency, to minimise this flood risk and the programme of flood schemes in the borough is one of the most complex and challenging in the country.

The work in Mytholmroyd is truly distinctive and in 2022 the flood alleviation scheme won the National Landscape Institute Award for ‘Excellence in Flood and Water Management’. The award celebrates projects which are integral to the reduction of flood risk and sustainable water management and spaces which connect people, place and nature.

Construction work has also now started on the Brighouse flood alleviation scheme, along the River Calder. Further work is also due to start this year at three additional sites, including Shaw Wood Road, Todmorden; Stubbing Holme Road, Hebden Bridge; and Copley.

The flood programme also acknowledges that flood risk cannot be managed by simply building ever bigger defences. Taking a catchment-based approach and using the right combination of measures in the right places can help to slow flood peaks and reduce the depth and duration of flooding. It also achieves other benefits at the same time, including:

  • reducing soil erosion and its impact on rivers
  • storing carbon so that it isn’t released into the environment
  • improving water quality
  • creating new habitats to help restore biological diversity

Natural flood management is so important, with initiatives like tree planting helping to prevent flooding by slowing rain from reaching the ground, absorbing water as they grow and helping water to soak into the ground. Several large tree planting projects are underway that will see thousands of new trees being planted in Calderdale, including Landscapes for Water and White Rose Forest. 

The Leader of Calderdale Council, and Chair of the West Yorkshire Climate, Energy and Environment Committee, Cllr Tim Swift, said:

“Our Vision2024 distinctiveness social media takeover week will highlight the many distinctive qualities of Calderdale, including our heritage, our visitor attractions, our culture and our environment.

“It will also explore our distinctive relationship with water and how our flood schemes, supported by our collaborative approach to natural flood management, enable us to continue to live alongside our many waterways.

“We’re proud of the work that has already taken place to reduce our flood risk. We continue to innovate, embrace community talent and seek new partnerships to improve the understanding of how our catchment works, to help further minimise the impacts of future floods.”

Jo Arnold, Calderdale Programme & Partnership Manager at the Environment Agency said:

“Calderdale provides a unique example of how we need to manage flood risk on a catchment scale, from the top of the hillside to the bottom to the valleys, and we’ve had to consider its dramatic landscape to get the right flood protection for communities like Mytholmroyd and Brighouse.

“Climate change is increasing the frequency and the severity of floods everywhere and everyone needs to adapt. The combination of engineered and natural approaches to flood risk in Calderdale should inspire future projects all over the country.”

Local residents and organisations are encouraged to join in using the hashtags #distinctive and #VisionCdale2024, by sharing and posting about what makes Calderdale distinctive.

The year 2024 marks Calderdale’s 50th birthday. Where do we want to be by 2024? Get involved with the debate on Twitter with #VisionCdale2024 and find out more at


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