Upper Aire Tributaries Flood Modelling


The Environment Agency strives to continually improve their understanding of flood risk, which is particularly key in areas of potential future development. They are currently looking at flood risk along the River Aire through Yorkshire.

As part of this work, we have been tasked with providing up-to-date flood mapping for nine tributaries of the Upper River Aire, covering a wide area from Gargrave near Skipton downstream to Oulton on the outskirts of Leeds. Several of these tributaries have a known history of flooding. The Leeds-Liverpool canal intersects some of the tributary catchments and there is potential for floodplain interactions with out of bank flow from the River Aire itself.

Further development is planned within some of the tributary catchments, with some potential development sites located close to the River Aire confluences.


Ratings used to determine observed flows at local gauging stations have been reviewed and revised in several locations. These results have contributed to the calculation of new flow estimates for flood events of a wide range of magnitudes on the nine tributaries being studied.

Hydraulic modelling has been undertaken for all of the tributaries, using Flood Modeller and ESTRY software linked with TUFLOW. Eight new models have been built, seven 1D-2D linked plus one 1D only, and one existing model updated.

The potential impact of flooding from the River Aire has been considered through joint probability analysis and use of predicted maximum water levels from the Upper Aire Strategy modelling already completed. The hydraulic modelling will provide new and up-to-date flood outlines for the Upper Aire tributaries.


The study will provide the Environment Agency with a better understanding of flood risk in the Upper Aire catchment, improving confidence in predictions of future flooding within this part of Yorkshire. Updated flood mapping along the Upper Aire will assist the Environment Agency in making robust planning decisions for the future, particularly for key areas with development potential along the Aire corridor.

Results of this study could potentially contribute to the Programme Delivery Unit (PDU) projects currently being implemented across the Environment Agency with the aim of reducing the risk of flooding to people and property.

Want to know more?

For more information on this project contact Kevin Haseldine. You can also find out more on our Flood and Water Management web pages.

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