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Horses help drive Yorkshire flood solutions

A team of working horses is being used to drag trees over to the waterway and create leaky dams as part of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme.

The £500,000 Leeds City Council-funded programme involves applying a range of natural flood management solutions along the River Aire catchment.

The measures put in place in Harden Moor include woodland creation (including native oaks), river and flood plain restoration, wetlands creation, and leaky dams to store more water in times of flood and slow the flow of the river.  

The EA’s project team is working with Bradford Council to embed these flood management methods on and by this tributary of the River Aire.

"The design we developed ensures that the improvements to the site are sensitive to the surrounding landscape and existing habitats are retained. It includes blocking drainage features and constructing leaky dams to reduce run-off and surface erosion, as well as creating woodland areas and planting sphagnum to increase water absorption," says Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, executive member for Regeneration, Planning, and Transport at Bradford Council.

"This land management technique uses natural regeneration and re-wetting of heathland areas so that the landscape can hold more water in times of flood. The use of horse logging is a really environmentally sensitive way to moving felled and fallen timber while reducing damage to flora and watercourses without pollution."

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