Over £300k earmarked for research to make West Yorkshire more resilient to flooding and climate change

Thousands of pounds of Government funding is being invested in West Yorkshire to develop new research projects to help make the region more resilient to flooding and the impacts of climate change.

West Yorkshire Flood Innovation Programme (WY FLIP)) has received £310,000 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Partners from five local authorities and the Environment Agency joined forces as part of the West Yorkshire Flood Innovation Programme (WY FLIP) to successfully bid for the new funding, allocated by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which will be used to gather evidence from across the region to support the innovative flood resilience projects.

The School of Geography’s  Dr Stephanie Bond, Impact Translation Fellow, is currently co-ordinator and Professor Joe Holden, director of iCASP and water@leeds, is board member for WY FLIP which is a collaborative, innovative programme which works at catchment level and across administrative boundaries to reduce the impact of flooding and climate change in the region.

The funding which follows on from £187,000 awarded to the successful Local Levy bid last month, will be used to develop research around six work streams.

The work streams:

  • Understanding how land-use and agriculture can play a part in addressing the climate and ecological emergencies 
  • Developing early flood warning systems to those at risk within West Yorkshire
  • Delivering the joint benefits - environmental, social and economic benefits – of nature based solutions 
  • Forging links between the green finance and flood resilience sectors to improve protection for homes and businesses
  •  Using green social prescribing schemes to provide nature-based activities for some of the most vulnerable communities in the region
  • Developing flood resilience mapping systems to better prepare for climate change

Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, said: “It’s important that communities across West Yorkshire are protected against flooding by building resilience to extreme weather to help protect homes, livelihoods and jobs. 

I welcome this research, which will help boost our resilience to climate change and builds on the work we have been doing to tackle the climate emergency by becoming a net zero region by 2038.

Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin

A workshop is being planned as part of the WY FLIP’s Annual General Meeting in the spring for board and steering group members - representing academia, industry and the third sector – and their partners, to work collaboratively to shape the project. 

Proposals for the project currently being explored include: 

  • Connecting health professionals with flood risk managers to enable joint benefits and efficiencies by linking natural flood management (NFM) delivery and sustainable drainage systems with social prescribing. For example, when considering trees planting in the light of joint benefits for flood risk and green social prescribing to improve health and wellbeing
  • Using a systems-based approach to assess the benefits of using land for natural flood management against agriculture to make sure it is most effective
  • Forging links between those who work in green finance and flood resilience by organising workshops. These include planners, developers and the insurance industry. They will explore opportunities and challenges such as identifying new funding schemes, increasing the uptake of property flood resilience and building more resilient homes and businesses
  • Developing effective early flood warning systems for those who are at risk of flooding within West Yorkshire, including transient individuals.

Councillor Jane Scullion, Deputy Leader of Calderdale Council and WY FLIP ambassador, said: “Following consultation with our partners, we have identified a suite of six projects that address challenges faced when working to increase the resilience of the region. These include infrastructure projects and feasibility studies.

WY FLIP is uniquely placed to deliver projects with partners across the region, enabling wide reaching benefits to be realised through collaboration and shared learning.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-shared-prosperity-fund-prospectus