If you own a business with land attached, you could be making a small contribution to reducing flood risk in your community with no capital outlay required.
In 2018, Chris Bingham, owner of Cragg Vale Country Business Park near Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire, was keen to reduce the risk of flood into Cragg Vale, a small village just below the site near Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire.
During a storm event, large volumes of rain water would run off the hills above the park, across the car park and into the fields below, subsequently threatening to flood Cragg Vale itself and the surrounding area affecting hundreds of residents and properties.
Keen to reduce the impact the Business Park was potentially having on the area below, Mr. Bingham worked with Treesponsibility, one of the founding partners at The Source Partnership, to develop a couple of simple but effective schemes to manage the water run off during a flood event and to promote biodiversity near the business park.
Together, they set about planting trees and constructing a large attenuation pond on the land just below their large car park.
The scheme involved planting over 4,800 trees on the site at Cragg Vale with “Trees for Learning” funding and with the Environment Agency paying for living willow revetments.
In addition, funding was also made available from The Environment Agency to build a large attenuation pond to hold back 600m3 of stormwater run-off from an existing and a proposed parking area at the business park. The pond outlet was placed some 30cm above the base of the pond so that some water was retained when the storm passed. This was designed specifically to enhance the biodiversity and promote habitat creation on the site.
Landowner Chris Bingham said “The team from Treesponsibility were amazing, supported by an army of school children and volunteers. We need more longer-term projects like this along the tops of our valleys. We can’t just expect work done around the valley bottoms to be enough to prevent the devastation of events like that in December 2015. And February 2020.”
Adrian Horton from Slow The Flow said of the scheme in Cragg Vale “this type of innovation is critical if we are to reduce the vast amounts of water coming off the hillsides into our towns and villages. These small-scale community projects are hugely important in harnessing local interest in natural Flood Management, so the more schemes like this we can get under way, the better it is for people who live in the valley. They are also so much cheaper than some of the hard engineering schemes which we are all very familiar with”.
To date, there have been around 15 completed schemes like this in and around the Calder Valley, with a similar number underway, but communities need many more to slow the flow of run off from the hills above our towns and villages. More schemes are in the planning stage but the task still remains huge.
The development of the Car Park at Mytholmroyd Community Centre once the Mytholmroyd flood scheme is completed is another example of how environmentally sympathetic schemes like this can benefit the communities around them. Simple water storage solutions like permeable surfaces, planters and trees can make a significant difference.
You can read more on this scheme here –
More grant funding is soon to be made available and Slow The Flow is also fundraising to develop more schemes like this to reduce flood risk and rain water runoff in Calderdale.
By reducing the run off from the hills around Calderdale, Natural Flood Management schemes like in Cragg Vale this can make a collective and significant contribution to reducing flood risk in the towns and villages along the valley, ensuring that the hard-engineered schemes, like the one under construction in Mytholmroyd, work more effectively and robustly to protect homes, businesses and livelihoods.
If you own land or you know of land which may be suitable on which you think similar schemes could benefit your local community, visit http://slowtheflow.net/you-can-volunteer-your-land/ for more information.