Natural flood management as part of rewilding

We’re supporting the implementation of natural flood management on two country estates in the Upper Aire Catchment as a part of Phase 2 of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme (FAS).

This Phase of the scheme aims to reduce peak flood flows in Leeds by delivering a selection of natural flood management (NFM) measures in the River Aire CatchmentThis will help to store and slow flows. It is being led by Leeds City Council in partnership with the Environment Agency and Mott MacDonald 

“Natural flood management involves techniques that aim to work with natural processes, to manage the sources and pathways of flood waters. These techniques include the restoration, enhancement and alteration of natural features and characteristics, but exclude traditional flood defence engineering that works against or disrupts these natural processes”

SEPA, 2015 

We were commissioned in September last year to undertake NFM feasibility studies and concept designs for both the Broughton Hall Estate and the neighbouring Elslack Hall Estate.  Natural Flood Management project

The Broughton Hall Estate aspires to facilitate nature recovery and deliver wider ecological and societal benefits. They are planning to ‘rewild’ significant parts of the Estate, working with Alastair Driver. Our Head Office is located on the Broughton Hall Estate and we are delighted to be able to contribute our local knowledge and extensive experience of natural flood management (NFM) and working with natural processes, to help the estate meet its vision whilst identifying opportunities to deliver flood risk benefits to the city of Leeds and communities along the River Aire.  

NFM Research

Natural Flood Management

Through our recent research work with Defra, which sought to understand the barriers and facilitators to the delivery of NFM, we have been able to put our learnings into practice, working with a range of key stakeholders to identify and deliver measures that bring multiple benefits by working with natural processes.    

The Defra research work included a focus on working with farmers to better understand the influence of funding for NFM and the role of agri-environment schemes such as Countryside Stewardship. Agriculture is now in a transition phase as a result of CAP reform and Brexit. Steve Maslen, our Head of Environment, will be exploring the future of the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMs) and how the scheme may impact on the delivery of NFM measures at the iCASP NFM Practitioners conference on Monday 20th January in Bradford. The presentation will be uploaded to this website.  

Want to know more?

We have over 10 years’ experience in natural flood management and have led the consortium that delivered the Environment Agency’s Working With Natural Processes Evidence Base, published in 2017. If you would like more information, please contact Steve Maslen, Head of Environment. You can also find out more on our Natural Flood Management webpages

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