Turning Yorkshire Green Blue

Green walls and water feature to enhance property value

A new iCASP partnership is forming to dissolve the barriers which prevent investment in natural landscaping in urban areas. Natural landscape features such as ponds, rows of trees, roofs or walls planted with greenery are just a few common examples of what is described as Green Blue Infrastructure (GBI).

In spite of its benefits, which include natural cooling, improving air quality, providing wildlife habitats and making urban areas more attractive, planners struggle to make a persuasive business case for GBI investment.

Now a strong multi-disciplinary team in partnership with stakeholders in Leeds City region and West Yorkshire are determined to lead the way in improving cost-benefit analysis and valuation of Green Blue Infrastructure. They want to bring HM Treasury on board too!

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Prioritising Natural Flood Management interventions in Calderdale

Photo Courtesy: Slow the Flow

A rainfall-runoff model developed at the University of Leeds is the latest weapon in Calderdale’s efforts to prevent future flooding in the valley. SD-TOPMODEL is currently the only tool able to model the flow of water from hillslopes to the river at a sufficient spatial scale to allow Natural Flood Management (NFM) interventions and land management to be represented accurately for the characteristics of the Calderdale catchment.

An iCASP project using SD-TOPMODEL and starting in November 2018 will contribute to the Calderdale Flood Action Plan by helping to prioritise the siting of future NFM schemes.

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Better land management for a multifunctional landscape

Credit: DCRT

The latest iCASP Project will help advise the Don Catchment Rivers Trust on their Hidden Heritage Secret Streams project. This is based on the Upper Rother Catchment, a tributary of the River Don. One of the aims of the project is to improve the way land is managed so that it provides both social and heritage benefits.

Volunteers will be recruited to put in place small and simple changes to reduce river pollution from different sources, slow the rate at which water flows down the river, and make it easier for different species to flourish by ensuring suitable habitats are connected up in the landscape.

At the moment, it’s difficult to prioritise what should be done because there isn’t enough available information on the different options and whether they can be carried out by volunteers. This is where iCASP can add most value.

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Bricks and Water

A new report, Bricks and Water, which iCASP helped to inform, has been published by the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum, an off shoot of Policy Connect.

It sets out an action plan for better management of water to deliver water-efficient homes at volume, that are resilient to flooding and calls for a ‘Bricks and Water’ sustainability code with a change in building regulations to provide a stable long-term planning framework.

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Eyeing up our rivers

Photo courtesy: Sheila Palmer, University of Leeds

The latest iCASP Project, The Derwent Data Finder, will  explore whether a collaborative monitoring system could help the Environment Agency to reduce costs and to gather more information. The Environment Agency currently spends 60 million pounds a year gathering information on the state of the water environment to meet regulatory requirements.

However, many other organisations, including iCASP partners and universities, also collect relevant data which if shared might fill existing knowledge gaps and prevent duplication.

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Managing land more beneficially

Photo Credit: Les Firbank

Leaving the EU gives the UK an opportunity to rethink farm subsidies. The government is currently exploring how to incentivise farmers and land owners to improve water quality, soil health  and flood protection. This is where iCASP can help. The Agri-Land Management for Public Goods Delivery Project is going to review and consolidate the evidence on land management interventions which generate a wide range of public goods.

The Review will focus on a selection of land management activities currently undertaken in the River Ouse drainage basin area of Yorkshire, including those supported through Countryside Stewardship.

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A Yorkshire voice in policy development

Two Yorkshire MPs are keen to hear more from iCASP Partners who are achieving collaborative land management to combat climate change and flooding.

 

MPs and event organisers at Howe Syke Farm, Bishopdale. Photo Credit: Malcolm Warne

 

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Getting to grips with natural flood management

Natural flood management pilot schemes in Yorkshire are the focus of an iCASP project to develop best practice for modelling and monitoring. Defra’s 25 year Environment Plan highlights the important role that natural flood management techniques can play in flood risk management. The Yorkshire work will therefore contribute valuable learning for the rest of the UK. The iCASP project will help to develop best practice and show how natural flood management can deliver a range of benefits in addition to flood protection.

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Maximising pay-back from peat restoration

Efforts to restore Yorkshire’s vast peat bogs will soon be getting a welcome boost, thanks to a new project being developed by the Yorkshire Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme (iCASP).

The Yorkshire Peat Partnership and Moors for the Future Partnership will be working with the Universities of Leeds, Manchester and Durham to develop tools that people can use when they consider how to get the most value from restoring a bog even as the climate changes.

The project team will develop a user-friendly and updated version of a modelling tool called DigiBog. They will also create a ‘menu of methods’ for valuing the benefits of peatland restoration. This will help restoration practitioners plan their programmes to generate maximum social benefit.

 

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