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Leaky dam at Swarthghyll Natural Flood Management

D5 – Natural flood management

Work with farmers and landowners to deliver landscape-scale natural flood management projects in the Aire, Eden, Ribble; Lune; Swale, Ure, and Wharfe catchments.


How the local partners are doing on this objective

Progress: Funding was secured in 2023 from the Environment Agency for the 4-year Ousewem Project, led by York City Council, which is promoting and funding catchment-wide natural flood management, and includes Swaledale and Wensleydale.  The Leeds Flood Alleviation scheme – led by Leeds City Council and the Environment Agency – continues until 2025.

Press Releases & related articles:

29 March 2021 – Farmers see case for riverside tree-planting

16 November 2020 – Flood management brought into ELMs ‘test and trial’


Rationale: In recent years, rivers that rise in the National Park have contributed to flooding in towns and cities across the north of England.  Within the Park, rivers cause localised disruption to transport and on farmland.  There is now robust evidence that natural flood management measures – like reducing soil compaction – can help to reduce downstream flood peaks without significant impact on farming operations.  Long-term progress, though, will depend on funding to maintain installed measures.

Lead partner:  Environment Agency

Supporting partners:  Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority; Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust; Ribble Rivers Trust; Lune Rivers Trust; Eden Rivers Trust; Dales Farmer Network; Upper Aire Land Management Project; Leeds City Council; Cumbria Strategic Flood Partnership; Aire Rivers Trust; Natural England; Forestry Commission; National Trust; Moorland Association; Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust

Further information: Natural Flood management; Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust

Cost over 5 years:           £1,000,000

Funding shortfall:          £500,000

Related objectives:         A1; A8; C3; D1; D2; D3; E4; E9

Ecosystem services: Water Flow; Water availability; Water quality; Soil erosion; Soil quality

Trade-offs:  Small scale Natural flood management measures are generally positive for other objectives. Bigger schemes (e.g. major woodland planting) could have impacts on landscape character (A3); habitats (C1); Species (C2) and farm businesses (E9). These impacts are mitigated and managed through a range of guidance and funding criteria, including the Woodland Siting and Design Guide.

Baseline: Landscape-scale projects underway in all catchments.