Grants available to support natural flood management

Attenuation basin near Hebden Bridge

Farmers and landowners in Calderdale can now take advantage of a grant scheme to support them to create natural flood management (NFM) works upon their land.

Calderdale Council, with support from the Environment Agency and the Woodland Trust, is offering up to £500,000 worth of grants to landowners in Calderdale, with the aim of helping them install measures on their land to support flood resilience work.

NFM is a simple but effective way of helping reduce flooding by slowing down rainwater flowing down from the uplands and flooding urban areas. By creating interventions on higher ground that temporarily capture rainwater, it can make a difference to the amount of rainwater reaching the towns downstream. This grant gives the opportunity to create many of these interventions across Calderdale.

The grant scheme can fund a range of activities from creating dry ponds known as attenuation basins, to thinning woodlands to allow plants to grow beneath the trees, which also slow down rainwater flowing downhill. Simple interventions can also receive funds, such as new hedging across a slope or using bundles of felled trees (or other materials) known as leaky dams to slow water down in streams or gullies through which water flows during times of high rainfall. Fencing and gates are also funded where they offer protection to natural flood management interventions. 

Landowners may use NFM to benefit farming practices; reduced erosion and improvements to soil structure are common as well as a reduction in waterlogging. Implementing NFM doesn’t always mean a field is then unusable for other farming practices.

Applications are invited from across the borough, although applications from the Upper Calder, Walsden Water, Hebden Water and Cragg Vale areas are particularly welcome.

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

“As we all experience the impacts of climate change, extreme weather events, like flooding, become more likely. We want to do everything we can to minimise the impacts of the heavy rain we will inevitably experience in Calderdale and natural flood management techniques support this work in a huge way.

“These proven interventions help to slow the flow of water from our steep-sided hills into the valleys below and complement the existing environment. This grant scheme will help support landowners to install more of these measures to better protect our towns and villages. As well as funding, it offers expert advice to ensure that the most appropriate measures are installed and support with the design.”

Three previous rounds of the grant scheme have seen delivery of 30 strong NFM projects including Julie Thorpe’s scheme within the Colden catchment, one of the areas identified as a priority for NFM works.

Julie explained:

“We are lucky to have a bit of land and the contours lent themselves to creating a range of natural flood management features.

“It is great that Calderdale is investing in natural flood management. Whilst flood defences in the valley are necessary, pouring more and more concrete can’t be the only answer. Natural Flood Management can help safeguard homes and businesses in Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Mytholmroyd, and further down the valley. And so many NFM features have a positive impact for wildlife – win-win!”

Applicants for the scheme will receive guidance on how to effectively create these works, and funding is adequate to pay for contractors to undertake these projects for landowners where required. Furthermore, free assistance is available from partners such as The Calder and Colne Rivers Trust and Treesponsibility to help design the best natural flood management scheme for the land, and they can even help to complete the application.

Applications are welcome until Monday 3October 2022. Full details and application documents are available at: link)  

For more information about flooding in Calderdale, including expert advice on preparing for, responding to and recovering from flooding, visit link)  


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