Leeds’ groundbreaking natural flood risk management program is now complete

The project was carried out through a collaboration between the Environment Agency, Leeds City Council and the University of Leeds.

A series of NFM measures have been used to reduce flood risk by slowing the flow of water during periods of heavy rain, increasing the resilience of 1,048 homes, 474 businesses and key infrastructure that will be better protected by the program, as well as other communities. along the River Aire.

Bodington Fields, where the triathlon center is located, now provides a ‘living laboratory’ for teaching and research at the University of Leeds and is a center of excellence for natural flood management measures.

Adrian Gill, regional flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, said:

It’s great to see the finished product of the natural flood management program at Brownlee Triathlon Centre, an important part of Leeds’ flood mitigation programme.

As the country faces a national and global climate emergency, restoring our natural environment will also help us achieve net zero emissions in the future.

Not only do natural flood management techniques help make Leeds more resilient to climate change and capture tons of carbon from the atmosphere, they also improve biodiversity and provide wider benefits to local wildlife.

We are delighted for visitors to see the work that has taken place in this new Center of Excellence and learn more about how different natural solutions can be used to help reduce the risk of flooding along the River Aire.

Councilor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s executive member for infrastructure and climate, said:

Many of us remember the devastating floods on Boxing Day 2015, when the River Aire overflowed and caused havoc across Leeds. Flooding as recent as February is also a reminder of why Phase 2 of the Leeds Flood Mitigation Program is so vital for those who live and work in the area, now and in the future. The engineering works that stretch from Leeds Station to Apperley Bridge are critical to the city’s resilience, but equally integral to the catchment-wide natural flood management programme.

We all need to play our part in tackling the climate emergency and the innovative NFM techniques tested here will allow us to develop the gold standard of NFM and encourage wider use on both Leeds FAS2 and larger projects. The work will capture carbon, help us meet our climate emergency goals, and create and preserve areas of well-being for our citizens and habitat for our wildlife.

Michael Howroyd, Head of Sustainability Projects at the University of Leeds, added:

The Bodington Fields site will be invaluable to scholars and students, providing research opportunities and practical data, while providing benefits for local residents, biodiversity and the climate.

The project is a fantastic example of how collaboration between stakeholders can use university grounds as a living laboratory for world-class research and teaching, which will impact the entire city region and the -of the.

A balance pool

Afforestation and tree planting are part of the NFM measures used, including the planting of 5,000 trees. Trees not only help act as a shield to stop and slow down rainfall before it reaches the ground, but they also increase carbon capture and storage capacity and provide valuable habitats for local wildlife.

Other features installed include leaky wooden dams and a balancing pond, which retains flood waters during heavy rainfall to reduce the risk of flooding. Wetland scrapes and cross drains have also been created to store water away from more vulnerable areas, such as local drainage systems, which might otherwise overflow and cause flood damage.

Wood debris dams and leaky gabion walls


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Edward L. Robinett