Community led natural flood management – A celebration of local resilience

Slow the Flow Community Led NFM Conference

Saturday 30th & Sunday 31st  March 2019

Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire

  • Resilience : What can communities achieve for themselves on a local scale and a catchment scale?
  • Monitoring : Can small charities make a real difference on the ground and can you prove it?
  • Partnership : How do you work with government agencies, universities and local authorities?

The Calder Valley was dramatically impacted by the floods of Boxing Day in 2015. It affected businesses and our communities but there was also a response: residents asked ‘what can I do?’  Slow the Flow Calderdale was part of that response. We are a small local charity working on natural flood management, promoting SuDS/rain gardens, monitoring and education. We have come a long way in three years and we have learnt many lessons about funding, working with volunteers and developing a relationship with the statutory agencies, local authorities and local landowners. We have a good story to tell – but we don’t have all the answers. We wanted to share, celebrate and learn your story too.

Over 2 days, nearly 100 people from around the UK descended onto our beautiful town of Hebden Bridge in the Calder Valley to hear from Natural Flood Management (NFM) professionals talk about how communities can promote natural techniques to reduce flood risk in our villages, town and cities.

Delegates from Scotland, Lancaster, Somerset and Kent traveled to hear speakers from the The National Flood Forum, Mersey Forest, The Environment Agency, 2B Landscape consultancy, Calderdale Council and Slow the Flow to discuss and explore how the community can come together to take responsibility for the effects of changing climate and resulting changes in weather patterns.

It is clear that NFM can play a significant part in reducing flood risk. From creating leaky dams in the woodland, to adopting Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in our towns, we can slow and redirect rain water to lower peak levels and reduce flood risk.

On Sunday, delegates visited Hardcastle Crags (looked after by the National Trust) to see for themselves the work being carried out by volunteers to slow the flow. To date, over 350 leaky dams have been built throughout this area of natural beauty, and Slow the Flow Calderdale’s bespoke monitoring systems are proving them to be extremely effective at reducing the flood peak.

At our final event at Hebden Bridge Picture House, the critically acclaimed film “High Water Common Ground” was accompanied by a Q&A session with filmmaker Andy Clark. There was also a short presentation on how the Picture House was restored after the 2015 flood.

We filmed Saturdays presentation, in the hope they will provide useful advise to other flooded communities that were unable to attend, who may find inspiration to use NFM to slow the flow in their own catchments.

Link to Videos to be added shortly

Who is supporting us

Hebden Royd Town Council, Calderdale Council, Environment Agency, National Flood Forum, The National Trust,

Contact :

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