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Home / Your water services / Local improvements / Securing our reservoirs / Investment at Butterley reservoir

Investment at Butterley Reservoir

Embsay Updated - 20th October 2014

Since January 2012, we've been consulting with residents and stakeholders about some necessary safety improvements to the overflow at Butterley Reservoir. The overflow (known as a spillway) plays a vital role in helping to keep people in the local area safe from flooding.

In order to meet legal requirements around safety, improvements are essential to the spillway. The improvements, once complete, will ensure that the overflow continues to effectively protect the reservoir embankment from flood erosion and continue to serve its purpose as intended by its Victorian engineers.

We've considered several options and submitted a planning application for the only workable solution that delivers the safety requirements. This solution involves modifications to the existing spillway channel, maintaining existing masonry walls wherever possible. 

You may have read that the planning committee at Kirklees Council refused our planning and listed building consent applications. This was disappointing, especially as they were recommended for approval by council officers. 

After considerable reflection since this meeting and further consultation, we have decided to appeal the decision by Kirklees Council. Our main priority is for the safety of the community of Marsden. All other alternative measures to this proposal have been ruled out on engineering, construction safety and public safety grounds. 

Please be assured that whilst a decision is made on our appeal, we have taken significant measures to ensure the safety of local residents. For example, visitors to Butterley reservoir will have noticed that we've lowered the reservoir level by over six metres, along with two other reservoirs further up the valley. All three reservoirs will remain lowered until remedial works are carried out.


Essential safety maintenance works at Butterley reservoir
From early October, our contract partners, Mott MacDonald Bentley, will carry out some essential safety improvements inside the tunnel at Butterley reservoir. They need to provide a new concrete access walkway and carry out work on the electrics, both of which will be done wholly within the tunnel.

Every effort will be made to complete the work by Christmas; however, this is dependent on the weather. Nearby residents and visitors to the reservoir may notice additional construction traffic in the area, along with two small cabins for welfare facilities. Access to the tunnel will be gained by using temporary metal sheets laid over a geotextile membrane which will be removed after the project. This membrane protects the ground underneath it, whilst allowing sufficient drainage.

All footpaths around the reservoir will remain open and unrestricted throughout these works.

We'd like to assure you that this work is not related to, or preparation for, the proposed improvements to the spillway and that Kirklees council have been consulted about this work.

Your questions answered

If you have any feedback or questions about our improvements at Butterley, please email

If you'd like to find another reservoir which is local to you, please click here .


Butterley Reservoir Spillway Volume I - Non Technical Summary

Butterley Reservoir Spillway Volume II - Main Statement


Butterley Reservoir Spillway Volume III - Environmental Statement

Due to the size of this file (122mb), we can't host the pdf on our site. You can request it by getting in touch here.

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