Work has started on a project to further slow down the flow of water from Ilkley Moor into Backstone Beck which runs to the River Wharfe.
Commissioned by Bradford Council with the support of the Friends of Ilkley Moor, this is an Environment Agency funded project which is being carried out by the Peak District National Park-based Moors for the Future Partnership.
The Natural Flood Management work will include installation of small dams, blocking drainage channels and re-profiling parts of the upper beck catchment. The aim is to re-wet the moor and slow the rate of water flowing from the moor in to river.
The aim of this work is to help reduce flooding in Wharfedale. It also has wider biodiversity benefits by encouraging the development of blanket bogs which allow peat to form which in turn stores carbon and help to reduce greenhouse gases and climate change. The work follows extensive planting of sphagnum moss on the moor last year which also encourages peat formation.
The work is part of wider plans to help mitigate flood risk across the district. Previous projects have included similar work on Harden Moor at Deep Cliffe Woods.
Kirsty Breaks-Holdsworth, Flood Risk Officer at Bradford Council, said: “The Council’s Land Drainage team and Countryside Service are delivering a Natural Flood Management project that will help to reduce flooding and create favourable conditions for wildlife and carbon storage. These are all important elements of moorland management delivering wider benefits for the area. We are happy to be working with Moors for the Future who have a proven track record in this work, and are grateful to Defra for the funding.”
Simon Stokes, the Environment Agency’s Project Manager for the Environment Programme, said: “We are working with nature to reduce flood risk across the region and we’ve been working with Bradford Council to develop this programme over the last few years using nature-based solutions.
"We hope to be able to replicate similar approaches on other parts of Ilkley Moor and other moorland sites, to secure multiple-benefits from these landscapes. As well as reducing flood risk, these measures provide other benefits such as; providing habitats for wildlife and green space for communities; helping to improving air and water quality and helping Yorkshire mitigate and adapt to climate change.”
This one of many ways Bradford Council is working to tackle climate change and create a more sustainable district. For more information on climate action, please visit: www.bradford.gov.uk/environment/climate-change/climate-emergency-and-green-economy/