Plans for Keighley and Stockbridge flood defences on show

Keighley and Stockbridge Flood Alleviation Scheme (Image: Environment Agency)

Proposals for a new flood defence scheme for Keighley and Stockbridge are going on show at a community event this week.

The Environment Agency is hosting a public drop-in event for the Keighley and Stockbridge Flood Alleviation Scheme on Wednesday (22nd November), at Victoria Hall between 2pm and 7pm.

The Environment Agency is working in partnership with Bradford Council and Yorkshire Water to deliver a flood risk management scheme for the area.

Around 460 residential properties and 290 businesses in the area near where the River Aire and the River Worth merge are currently at risk of flooding.

The River Worth Flood Alleviation Scheme was constructed in the early 1980s and is made up of raised defences and embankments along the River Worth. These sit alongside some privately owned walls and buildings that act as flood defences. There are also raised defences on the River Aire in Keighley, which were last refurbished in 2004.

Whilst these defences have provided protection from flooding over many years, some of these defences - particularly those on the River Worth - are now nearing the end of their design life and need repairing or replacing.

Luke Williams senior flood risk advisor for West Yorkshire at the Environment Agency said: "The scheme aims to reduce the risk of flooding from the River Worth and the River Aire by refurbishing or replacing the existing defences along the rivers. It will also aim to reduce risk from surface water flooding when it is unable to drain away through the drainage network, and will also explore options in the upper catchment, such as natural flood management, to slow the flow and help manage the impacts of climate change.

"We encourage the local community to come along to this event where they can see the progress of options for flood defences, meet our team and get the opportunity to comment on proposals and ask any questions."

Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: "The Bradford District, like many communities in West Yorkshire, have been impacted heavily by major floods over the last ten years. Working with the Environment Agency we developed the Bradford Flood Programme Board to create a long-term strategic approach to managing flood risk and the Keighley & Stockbridge Flood alleviation scheme is an example of that work.

"We encourage residents to come along to the drop-in session to discuss their views with Environment Agency and Bradford Council representatives so they can be fed into the development of this much-needed scheme for Keighley."

The scheme will also explore the use of natural flood management (NFM) in the River Worth upper catchment to ‘slow the flow’ and reduce river levels in Keighley during times of flood.

NFM works by protecting and restoring natural processes in catchments and rivers, and can take many forms including targeted tree planting, moorland restoration, land management (including soil aeration) and wetlands or water storage features.

The project team would like to hear from any landowners in the River Worth catchment that are interested in exploring NFM opportunities on their land.

The Environment Agency is now completing more detailed assessments of the options and progressing the Outline Business Case, which is expected to be submitted for approval at the end of 2024.

Construction is expected to start around 2026/27 and be complete by late 2030.

You can find out more about the current consultation at https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/yorkshire/keighley-stockbridgefas/

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