More than 1,000 businesses and 2,000 homes in the Colne and Calder Valleys are to be protected from floods in a scheme backed by £1.3m from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.
With a total cost of £2.6m, the investment will introduce measures to mimic natural flood management, including increased woodland cover, peat restoration at Wessenden Head, Marsden Moor and Gorpley Reservoir, as well as the introduction of small dams in the outlet streams at all three sites, helping to slow the flow of water across the catchment and reduce peak flows.
Work will start on site this month, with expected completion in December next year. It is planned at multiple locations in the Colne and Calder river catchments, including in Gorpley, Wessenden and Hardcastle Crags.
As well as providing long-term benefits protecting houses and businesses downstream from flooding, the programme will also increase biodiversity over 236 hectares of land and boost local recreation and tourism.
These schemes are part of a package of measures put in place by the LEP, Combined Authority and partner councils across the region following the Boxing Day floods of 2015.
Just weeks after the floods hit, the Leeds City Region £5 Million Business Flood Recovery Fund was launched, which supported businesses to reopen and local small / medium sized businesses to get back on their feet.
Additional Leeds City Region Growth Deal Funding of £20m, alongside £57m of partner match funding for the City Region, was also invested in a programme of activity. This is expected to protect 1,385 businesses and safeguard over 11,100 jobs.
Other major projects supported by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership that are already open include the £17.8 million Skipton Flood Alleviation Scheme, which launched in October 2018, and the £52 million Leeds Flood Defence Scheme, which opened in October 2017.
Works are currently on site in Mytholmroyd, due to complete in spring 2020, and construction will soon commence on the Wyke Beck Valley Flood Alleviation Scheme in east Leeds. The Combined Authority is also working with partners on a pipeline of projects which are expected to come forward in the coming year.
Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said: “The LEP, working with its partners at the Environment Agency and Kirklees and Calderdale councils, moved quickly to protect people, businesses and homes following the Boxing Day floods of 2015.
“This new scheme in the Calder Valley in particular reflects our commitment to investing in our region’s amazing natural assets – including natural flood management and peatland restoration – to protect homes and businesses from flooding and other effects of climate change.”