A £300,000 project to reduce flooding downstream is being carried out by Yorkshire Water on moorland overlooking the Calder Valley.
Working with the Moors for the Future Partnership, the utility provider’s initiative will also conserve wildlife and improve drinking water.
To achieve this, Yorkshire Water has commissioned more than five kilometres of fencing and dry stone walling for its Heptonstall and Widdop moors to help control grazing animals. In addition, helicopters have spread lime and fertiliser across 75 hectares of the fenced-off moorland where 12,000 plug plants will be planted this spring to re-vegetate the bare, peaty soil.
Some 400 bags of heather brash have been spread over the bare peat to prevent further erosion while young plants establish. The work will improve wildlife habitats and help soak up heavy downpours, reducing flood-risk lower down the valley, said project manager Chris Fry.
Mr Fry said: “This will create not only a more diverse and abundant site for wildlife, but better catchment and natural cleansing of our drinking water and reduced flooding downstream as rainwater sinks in rather than running over once-bare peat. Also, very importantly, the new vegetation will hold together the peat and reduce erosion, enabling it to retain carbon in the soil and lessen the impact of climate change.”
The project is being managed by the Moors for the Future Partnership for Yorkshire Water which is funding the work with Natural England. It involves working with Natural England, six commoners who have livestock grazing rights on the land, Calderdale Council, Pennine Prospects, a local grouse shoot and contractors.