Research underway into summer floods

Research is underway in Bradford and Leeds in a bid to tackle some of the problems behind the floods that devastated the country this summer.

University of Bradford academics are involved in two pilot projects funded by the Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) at a cost of £275,000 aimed at solving urban flooding problems.

The Making Space for Water Integrated Urban Drainage projects involve partnerships between Bradford Metropolitan District and Leeds City Councils, the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and the Pennine Water Group – a team of water management research specialists based at the universities of Bradford and Sheffield.

The Aire Strategic Project, led by Bradford Council, studies how institutions work together to prepare for and prevent flooding in the Bradford and Leeds areas.

Dr Liz Sharp, senior lecturer in geography and environmental management at the University of Bradford, said: “Our investigations have so far shown that the partner organisations are already demonstrating good practice in their co-ordinated approach to flooding issues in the Aire Valley.

“Throughout the project, we hope to make our practices even better and to disseminate what we have done to other localities in order to share best practice.”

Leeds City Council leads the second project based in West Garforth, an area prone to flooding.

Simon Tait, Bradford professor of water engineering, said: “Like many urban areas across the UK, West Garforth is drained by an old system which can fail the urban area it now covers.

“Therefore, this area provides a useful pilot for the co-operative approach we are trialling.

“Flooding incidents can result from several causes. The management of water in urban areas is not simply engineering but can rely heavily on public acceptance and spatial planning.

“By considering all these issues we hope to find a way to address these long standing problems.”

David Gibbs

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