Natural Flood Management Actions

The Calderdale Flood Action Plan outlines strategies for Natural Flood Management (NFM) focused on effectively managing the landscape to slow water flow. Actions include temporarily storing water, planting trees, and changing the way farmland and moorland are managed so that they absorb more water.

New Actions


    • Description: Determine the next steps for the use of NFM modelling and mapping work done to date.
    • Lead: Environment Agency.
    • Comments: 6th Joint Priority: iCASP modelling used for Landowner Grant Round 3 and funding Treesponsibility Hedge Fund; Atkins scale-up NFM as a tool for potential institutional investment. National Environment Agency guidance is expected in 2023 on proportionate modelling.


    • Description: Build capacity to deliver NFM, including securing finances, scaling up delivery, project management, design, contractor capacity, and maintenance.
    • Lead: Environment Agency.
    • Comments: 7th Joint Priority: Treesponsibility/South Pennine Facilitation Group training workshops for 3rd sector organisations; National Environment Agency skills/training assessment analysis of partner needs due in 2023.


    • Description: Engage the public (walkers, volunteers, flood wardens) to assist with the observation of existing NFM and suggest potential locations for new NFM.
    • Lead: Calderdale Council.
    • Comments: Supporting organisations to be confirmed - Calder and Colne River Trust/Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.


    • Description: Plan for urban NFM regarding Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDs), removal of surface water from sewers, and development of blue and green infrastructure. Connection to Yorkshire Water storm overflow program.
    • Lead: Yorkshire Water.
    • Comments: 2nd Priority: SuDs promotional work and demonstrator work previously funded - delivered by Slow the Flow. Approved by Yorkshire Water and the Senior Officers Group.

Ongoing Actions


    • Description: Review the funding strategy for the Calderdale Natural Flood Management program to reflect how we scale up NFM and use Atkins modelling across the catchment. Develop a wider understanding of opportunities available through the Leeds City Region Green Infrastructure Investment Plan and other local, regional, and national funding strategies.
    • Lead: Environment Agency.
    • Supporting Organisations: Calderdale Council, Natural Flood Management Operational Group.
    • Comments: 6th priority: Original funding strategy signed off in July 2019; NFM funding subgroup review funding opportunities. Strategy for scale-up and understanding of opportunities to be carried out.

NFM2 (Updated Action):

    • Description: Complete tree planting to meet the tree canopy target for Calderdale of more than 6700 hectares by 2050, in line with the Calderdale White Rose Forest action plan.
    • Lead: Calderdale Council.
    • Supporting Organisations: White Rose Forest, Forus Trees, National Trust, Yorkshire Water.
    • Comments: 7th Joint Priority: Update to original action 53 (2017). Confirm new target, lead, and timeline.


    • Description: Work to address soil erosion and landslide stabilisation in the Upper Calder Catchment. Includes treating landslips with fascines, removing Himalayan balsam, and thinning shallow-rooted beech trees to encourage woodland growth.
    • Lead: Calderdale Council.
    • Supporting Organisations: National Trust, Forus Tree, Calder & Colne Rivers Trust, Calderdale Council.
    • Comments: 3rd Priority - deliver NFM measures ongoing; action revised. Need a new lead.


    • Description: Deliver NFM interventions to slow the flow and contribute to reducing downstream flood risk in high-priority sub-catchments. Focus areas include Hebden Water, Walsden, Calder from Source, and Cragg Vale. Demonstration sites at multiple locations, including Hardcastle Craggs and Gorpley.
    • Lead: Calderdale Council.
    • Supporting Organisations: Calder and Colne Rivers Trust, Environment Agency, Slow the Flow, National Trust.
    • Comments: 3rd Priority - Deliver NFM measures ongoing; action revised.


    • Description: Develop new initiatives for sustainable control and management of invasive species (follow-up to action 81).
    • Lead: Calderdale Council.
    • Supporting Organisations: Calder Invasive Non-Native Species Sub-Group: Environment Agency, Calder Future and River Stewardship Company.
    • Comments: The Environment Agency and Calderdale Council funded a pilot for the Himalayan Balsam rust trial.


    • Description: List natural flood management structures on an asset register and produce a natural flood management asset map of the catchment (links to action 3 (9/2016)).
    • Lead: Calderdale Council.
    • Supporting Organisations: Environment Agency and Slow the Flow.
    • Comments: Timeline revised.

NFM7 (Updated Action):

    • Description: Review the plan to coordinate the engagement of landowners and land managers (across the Calderdale Flood Partnership) to support them in identifying and implementing a range of natural flood management measures. Publicise the extent of engagement.
    • Supporting Organisations: Calderdale Council, Moors for the Future, National Trust, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Forus Tree, Slow the Flow, Natural England, Environment Agency.
    • Comments: 4th Priority: Engagement plan developed in 2018; action 68. Partnership landowner engagement protocol developed by Calder and Colne Rivers Trust in 2021.

NFM8 (Updated Action):

    • Description: Encourage more farmers across the Calder catchment to carry out and maintain natural flood management. Utilise Countryside Stewardship Plus, Calderdale landowner grant scheme, and other available incentives.
    • Lead: Calder & Colne Rivers Trust.
    • Supporting Organisations: Natural England, landowners, Environment Agency, Calderdale Council.
    • Comments: 6th Joint Priority; Original action 69 reported complete; action revised.


    • Description: Seek funding for and implement a prioritised program of ecological surveys in target NFM catchments.
    • Lead: Calderdale Council.
    • Comments: 6th Joint Priority: Calderdale Council funded through Calderdale priority grants for ecological surveys to support NFM Landowner grants. Piloted an approach for ecological surveys as part of the landowner grant application.

NFM10 (New Action):

    • Description: Enhance the resilience of moorland habitats in the upper catchment against future risks such as climate change and wildfires. Consider the likelihood and severity of the risks, protecting associated outcomes like NFM, clean water provision, carbon capture, biodiversity, local economy, and community. Utilise the Yorkshire Water’s as a major building block of business development, matching it to other relevant funds.
    • Lead: Moors For The Future Partnership.
    • Supporting Organisations: Calderdale Council, Environment Agency, National Trust, Yorkshire Water, and landowners.
    • Comments: 1st Priority moorland resilience: Moorland condition survey and fire severity risk analysis completed by Moors For The Future; Environment Agency initial discussion with South Pennines Fire Operations Group, National Trust, and Yorkshire Water.

NFM11 (Newly Proposed Action - April 2023):

    • Description: Invest in community organisations to enable grassroots, personal/individual responses to flooding and climate change, with a focus on NFM.
    • Comments: Action needs to be progressed for community and voluntary organisations across Calderdale. It is not specific to flooding or the natural flood management agenda and should not be included as an action in Flood Action Plan.


    • Description: Model the risk of rural highway flooding and resulting impacts. Identify ways to use NFM solutions, where practical, for critical flood risk areas (rural highways).
    • Lead: Calderdale Council.
    • Comments: Need a new timeline.


    • Description: To assist with providing evidence for NFM interventions, install river level monitoring sensors to enable river flows to be measured at a local scale.
    • Lead: Slow the Flow.
    • Supporting Organisation: Environment Agency.
    • Comments: 5th Joint Priority: Regional work initiated on baseline NFM monitoring; longer-term plan to link monitoring impact of NFM. Slow the Flow’s new monitoring work at Broadhead Clough.

NFM14 (New Action - Updated Version of Previous Action):

    • Description: Review of revised Clough Woodland Project Guiding Principles to support the following activities across the South Pennine Moors National Character Area:
  1. Appropriate (careful and considered) design of landscape-scale native broadleaved (clough) woodland creation schemes.
  2. Gaining consent from Natural England under the Habitat Regulations, to ensure woodland creation does not have a detrimental impact on the interest features of designated/protected areas.
    • Lead: Natural England.
    • Supporting Organisations: National Trust, Moors for the Future, White Rose Forest, Calderdale Council.
    • Comments: Review of guidance required - original guidance completed and published in 2019.

Business As Usual


    • Description: Promotion of monitoring guidance on an annual basis; make guidance available on Eye on Calderdale.
    • Lead: Calderdale Council.
    • Supporting Organisations: Environment Agency and Leeds University (iCASP).


    • Description: Collate and analyse NFM monitoring data collected through various modelling and partner projects. Identify effective NFM interventions and gaps in data monitoring.
    • Lead: Environment Agency.
    • Supporting Organisations: Calderdale Council, National Trust and Calder and Colne Rivers Trust.
    • Comments: 5th Joint Priority - Penny Lawrence bursary established; Funding for student bursaries linked to work at Hardcastle Crags.


    • Description: Carry out modelling where required, to identify communities and properties where natural flood management measures could potentially reduce the risk of flooding.
    • Lead: Environment Agency
    • Supporting Organisations: Calderdale Council and Leeds University (iCASP).
    • Comments: Environment Agency funding Atkins modelling and mapping; iCASP modelling and mapping used for Landowner Grant. Round 3 Todmorden focus; Environment Agency modelling and mapping linked to Brighouse, Sowerby Bridge, and Walsden capital schemes.


    • Description: Set up an open source to encourage partners to share NFM data and reports.
    • Lead: Calderdale Council.

Completed Actions

NFM19: Old Reference No 38:

    • Description: Collate and evaluate what is known about the connections between land management and flooding in general, specifically in relation to the Calder catchment. Conduct a gap analysis to advise further research where appropriate. The goal is to inform strategic priorities for natural flood management and help affected communities better understand the relationship.
    • Lead: Calderdale Council.
    • Supporting Organisations: Leeds University (iCASP) and Environment Agency.
    • Comments: New research projects under the West Yorkshire Flood Innovation Programme. Projects include understanding the difference between land management and NFM. Work completed: iCASP modelling; Atkins modelling; MFTF baseline condition of moorland.

NFM20: Old Reference No 39:

    • Description: Coordinate the production of natural flood management opportunity maps to identify places where the risk of flooding could potentially be reduced through NFM techniques. These maps also consider multiple benefits to people and the environment.
    • Lead: Environment Agency.
    • Supporting Organisations: Calderdale Council and Leeds University (iCASP).
    • Comments: Environment Agency funding for the Atkins modelling and mapping; support for ecological opportunity mapping; iCASP modelling and mapping; Environment Agency modelling and mapping linked to Brighouse and Walsden capital schemes; Slow the Flow ground mapping pilot for part of Mytholmroyd.

NFM21: Old Reference No 42:

    • Description: Investigate and model the impacts of boundary features (e.g., blocking features in water channels, hedges, walls, gates) on water flow pathways and attenuating flows. Identify opportunities to reduce flood risk.
    • Lead: Environment Agency.
    • Supporting Organisations: Leeds University (iCASP) and Calderdale Council.
    • Comments: iCASP modelling of boundary features; Hedge fund (Treesponsibility) project delivered based on iCASP findings.

NFM22: Old Reference No 45:

    • Description: Research the connection between NFM measures delivering overland flow interception on steep slopes and landslides.
    • Lead: Calderdale Council.
    • Supporting Organisations: Environment Agency and Leeds University (iCASP).
    • Comments: iCASP funded the work.

NFM23: Old Reference No 47:

    • Description: Share learning from the developing DEFRA England Peat Strategy and current national moorland pilots. Improve understanding of baseline function and contribute to the development of a new program of Pennine moorland restoration post-2020. Investigate opportunities to produce a summary report on the current condition of Calderdale moorland.
    • Lead: Environment Agency.
    • Supporting Organisation: Moors for the Future.
    • Comments: Moors For The Future project on baseline condition of Calderdale reported in November 2022.

NFM24: Old Reference No 53:

    • Description: Complete tree planting at Hardcastle Craggs and plant 50,000 trees in the Upper Calder catchment by the end of 2018.
    • Lead: Treesponsibility.
    • Supporting Organisations: Woodland Trust, Whiterose Forest, and Moors for the Future.
    • Comments: Completed work under Growing Resilience at Gorpley, Hardcastle Crags, and other sites.

NFM25: Old Reference No 66:

    • Description: Scope a clough woodland project to increase the extent of woodland at Hardcastle Crags to several Yorkshire Water sites in the Calder Valley. Achieve this by working with a range of partner organisations and private landowners.
    • Lead: National Trust.
    • Supporting Organisations: Woodland Trust, Treesponsibility, Whiterose Forest, Yorkshire Water, South Pennines Facilitation Group, and Pennine Prospects.
    • Comments: Work completed under phase 1 of Landscapes for Water; development and consultation of phase 2 ongoing.

NFM26: Old Reference No 57:

    • Description: Carry out a project to create plate weirs, woody debris, and leaky dams on sites within and adjacent to Crimsworth Dean Beck, Hardcastle Craggs, and Hebden Water to reduce floodwater and flood peaks.
    • Lead: National Trust.
    • Supporting Organisations: Slow the Flow, Natural England, Environment Agency, Calderdale Council, Yorkshire Water, and various private landowners.
    • Comments: 3rd Priority - Deliver NFM measures.

NFM27: Old Reference No 58:

    • Description: Investigate how heather cutting, as a preferred management technique, could be introduced into future land management agreements. Produce clear guidance for partners based on best practices.
    • Lead: Natural England.
    • Comments: 1st Priority - moorland resilience. Need a new timeline; evidence review around cutting of heather about to be published.

NFM28: Old Reference No 59:

    • Description: Identify priority blanket bog restoration areas and appropriate techniques within the South Pennine Moors Special Area of Conservation, located in the Upper Calder Valley.
    • Lead: Moors For The Future.
    • Supporting Organisations: Pennine Prospects, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water, Moorland Association, and National Trust.
    • Comments: Action completed; new proposed work mapped.

NFM29: Old Reference No 60:

    • Description: Improve Clifton Beck as part of the Clifton Beck Diffuse Pollution Project. Create buffer zone strips, plant trees and vegetation on riverbanks, restrict livestock access to the beck, and remove invasive non-native plants to reduce the risk of flooding.
    • Lead: Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.
    • Supporting Organisations: Environment Agency, Calder & Colne Rivers Trust, Riverfly, and landowners.
    • Comments: Yorkshire Wildlife Trust work completed.

NFM30: Old Reference No 61:

    • Description: Create wetland habitat and wet woodland linked to environmental education work at Brearley Fields, Mytholmroyd.
    • Lead: Calderdale Council.
    • Supporting Organisations: Canal and Rivers Trust, Environment Agency, Calder & Colne Rivers Trust and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

NFM31: Old Reference No 67:

    • Description: The Calderdale Catchment plan draws from research projects across the 4 Pioneer projects. It identifies insights related to natural capital, partnership working, and achieving environmental outcomes for local communities.
    • Lead: Calderdale Council.
    • Comments: 7th Joint priority; national demonstration research projects disseminated.

NFM32: Old Reference No 70:

    • Description: Work with landowners to progressively review the three existing burning consents and agreements as part of the consideration for the long-term management requirements for the restoration of the blanket bog.
    • Lead: Natural England.
    • Supporting Organisations: Yorkshire Water and private landowners.
    • Comments: The changes to the heather and grass-burning (England) regulations in 2021 prevent owners/occupiers from using their consent to burn deep peat on Special Areas of Conservation without a license from DEFRA.
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