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Motoring North Yorkshire

National Highways takes natural approach to flood management on road network in pilot scheme

National Highways has awarded more than £420,000 to 13 natural flood management projects in the first round of the project covering parts of the Little Don, River Etherow and River Irwell catchments.

It comes as the international community at the UN climate change conference COP26 on Saturday (6 November) celebrated Nature Day, devoted to ensuring the importance of nature and sustainable land use are part of global action on climate change and a clean, green recovery.

Natural flood management (NFM) is an emerging approach to addressing flood risk which measures slow or store water in the landscape by emulating or enhancing natural processes.

Examples include changing the way land is managed so soil can absorb more water, creating storage ponds, planting woodlands and hedgerows, as well as constructing “leaky dams” which are natural barriers that regulate the flow of surface water run off.

The fund is being delivered in partnership with the Don Catchment Rivers Trust and the Mersey Rivers Trust.

Routes on the strategic road network due to benefit from the pilot measures include the M60, M62, M66, A58, A616, A628 and the B6194.

Head of Environment at National Highways Ivan Le Fevre said: “This pilot will explore how we can work with farmers and landowners to reduce flood risk on sections of the strategic road network known to be particularly vulnerable to flooding.

“It’s an innovative catchment-based approach to an issue that poses safety risks to road users and one that we normally tackle through engineering.

“By developing flood alleviation schemes throughout the catchment areas of these three rivers we are tackling the issue at source.”

A second round of bidding to increase the number of schemes in the pilot will open later this month when just under £250,000 will be available.

The cash has come from National Highways’ Designated Funds programme

It manages four designated funds, allocated by the government, to deliver benefits above and beyond building, maintaining and operating England’s strategic roads. 

From protecting the environment and enhancing the landscape around roads, to improving safety, reducing congestion, and supporting communities, the aim is to make a positive difference to people’s lives.

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