Action plan gets funding to reduce impact of flooding across West Yorkshire

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A plan to reduce the impact of flooding and climate change in West Yorkshire over the next six years is being launched during national Flood Action Week.

Spearheaded by five local Lead Flood Authorities across the region, the West Yorkshire Flood Innovation Programme (FLIP) has achieved a bid for £160,000 local levy funding from the Yorkshire Regional Flood and Coastal Committee to get it off the ground.

Councillor Naheed Mather, Kirklees Council cabinet member for environment, said: “It’s great to see West Yorkshire have been awarded funding to kick-start this programme, which will aim to find innovative solutions to protect our communities from flooding, not just in winter but all year round.

“We’re looking forward to working with our neighbours and seeing what the potential outcomes from the this joint programme of work.”

Jonathan Moxon, programme manager for West Yorkshire FLIP and flood risk manager for Leeds City Council, said: “This programme will launch a long-term ambition of partners in West Yorkshire to be a leader in using innovation to better protect our residents and businesses at high risk of flooding, especially in places where traditional hard flood defences are simply not viable.

“Over the next two years we can launch our programme and attract more funding to develop it further to make a real difference to increasing resilience across our region.”

Councillor Jane Scullion, chair of West Yorkshire Flood Risk Partnership and deputy leader of Calderdale Council, said: “Our ambitious programme will explore new ways to help protect vulnerable communities from flooding, something which is urgently needed throughout our region, as climate change is increasing the frequency and scale of flooding events.

“Collaboration will be key – involving people in our programme who do not normally work together including representatives from the private sector, community groups, charities and volunteers.

“We are also keen to work with representatives outside of the flood risk and environment sectors including the finance and insurance sector, transport, education, technology and health.”

Yorkshire’s Integrated Catchment and Solutions Programme (iCASP) funded by the National Council of Environmental Research based at University of Leeds will provide scientific lead for the programme and independent evaluation.

Professor Joseph Holden, director of iCASP, added: “We need to predict the future potential for flooding and build resilience by combining many different approaches rather than rely on individual interventions.

“Our role will be to make sure the latest scientific evidence is used to test new techniques and to develop innovative solutions that work.

“We will support the design of novel world-leading approaches to improving flood resilience suitable for different types of locations, risks, catchments and communities.”

West Yorkshire’s five lead Local Flood Authorities originally submitted a bid for funding from the Government’s £200m Resilience Innovation Programme which although was unsuccessful, had support from the Environment Agency, academic partners, community based groups, Third Sector organisations and Yorkshire Water.

Since then, partners continued to pursue alternative sources of funding for their proposals. There are five themes within the programme. They are:

  • Integrated water management solutions including flooding caused by surface water
  • Nature based solutions or natural flood management
  • Property flood resilience – measures installed in homes or business premises to make them less vulnerable to flooding
  • Helping the community and voluntary sector to be better prepared and recover more quickly
  • Better systems to give early warning of flooding.

A Programme Board chaired by Leeds City Council is now being set up. The West Yorkshire Flood Risk Partnership will provide a strategic role, linking into the Yorkshire Regional Flood and Coastal Committee and Catchment Partnerships.