Modelling NFM pilots across Yorkshire

Delivering evidence and guidance that will influence national implementation and financing of Natural Flood Management (NFM)

This project used research expertise to provide tailored modelling and monitoring support for NFM pilots across Yorkshire, developed a NFM community of practice to increase regional NFM capability and contributed updates to the Environment Agency's national Working With Natural Processes evidence base and guidance.

The Government's 25 Year Environment Plan highlights an important role for natural flood management in flood alleviation.
NFM pilots across Yorkshire established with support from Defra's £15 million fund are the focus of this project to develop best practice and show how working with nature can deliver a range of benefits. These pilot projects presented an immediate and one-off opportunity to influence policy and practice in relation to Working With Natural Processes.

Participants in a workshop run by iCASP workshop on NFM, asked for support in designing robust, cost-effective and standardised monitoring solutions that could be used in sub-catchments where there is limited data available to address challenges that are currently limiting for the wider uptake of NFM.

Experts in modelling and monitoring showed practitioners and communities different ways to evaluate and quantify the effectiveness of approaches such as tree planting and building leaky woody dams.
The project team shared insights from these pilot schemes with larger-scale flood alleviation schemes such as in Leeds, York, Sheffield, and Calderdale. The results of the project were also shared with the Yorkshire Regional Flood and Coastal Committee and DEFRA who have responsibility for developing policy on NFM including funding mechanisms.

The integration of natural flood management processes with hard engineered structures could give greater protection to homes, businesses and transport links in the region. The project has increased regional NFM capability. You can find out more about the NFM Community of Practice.


Environment Agency
Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Derwent Catchment Partnership
Bradford Metropolitan District Council
Calderdale Council
Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority
Yorkshire West Local Nature Partnership
Pennine Prospects
Slow the Flow Calderdale
National Trust
University of Leeds
University of York

Project Team

Prof. Colin Brown & Dr. Martha Villamizar – University of York
Dr. Mark Trigg, Dr. Megan Klaar & Dr. Mike Kirkby – University of Leeds
Richard Grayson & Jennifer Armstrong – iCASP Impact Translation Fellows
Simon Stokes – Environment Agency
Craig Best & Rosie Holdsworth – National Trust
Ben Fenton – Calderdale Council
Kirsty Breaks-Holdsworth – Bradford Metropolitan District Council
Steve Rose – JBA
Marie Taylor & Conor Scholey – Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust


April 2018 – April 2021


This project has contributed expertise and input, directly and indirectly, to the production of guidance and reports. Two of these include:

Monitoring and evaluating the DEFRA funded Natural Flood Management Projects

    Reporting, monitoring and evaluating the DEFRA funded Natural Flood Management Projects

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      A short (1'38') NERC/iCASP video to explain NFM simply is available from the NERC YouTube channel.

      A poster summary of an MSc project studying natural capital tools and their application to natural flood management is available to download from this site. It was created by University of Leeds student, Katie Chorlton, with support by iCASP partner, JBA.