Yorkshire Water funds natural flood management in Upper Wharfedale

Yorkshire Water is working alongside the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust (YDRT) to improve the wildlife habitat and reduce the impact of flooding in the Oughtershaw area of Upper Wharfedale.

The £50k investment from Yorkshire Water’s Biodiversity Action Fund, will see the firm construct three earth bunds which will reduce and slow down peak flows of floodwater.

Bunds – which are walls to contain floodwater – act as leaky dams which hold back surges in steam flow and allow water in a controlled way to move through the dam.

This, combined with tree planting, ponds, scrapes and new wetland habitat will increase the land’s capacity to absorb floodwater and release it slowly.

Ben Aston, from Yorkshire Water said: “We are delighted to be able to help the YDRT. Helping wildlife and their habitat is extremely important to us and to be able to reduce flooding at the same time, makes this a very exciting project.”

YDRT Senior Project Officer for Wharfedale, Dan Turner, said: “We are extremely grateful for Yorkshire Water’s help in funding Oughtershaw.

“The Demonstration Area will play a vital role in showing farmers and other landowners what could be achieved to tackle flooding problems using sustainable methods and at relatively modest cost.

“This type of action in the upper part of river catchments, such as Oughtershaw, could play a big part in reducing the impact of damaging floods further downstream.”