The Town Council has been very proactive in trying to address concerns by local residents regarding flood risk and is responsible for engaging the Environment Agency, North Yorkshire County Council (Lead Local flood Authority), Ryedale District Council, Yorkshire Water and local land owners with the potential to participate in an NFM scheme to address the issue of flooding in Keldholme, Kirby Mills and the wider catchment.

In 2020 the Town Council commissioned JBA Consulting Ltd to undertake a Natural Flood Management report for the entire Kirkbymoorside catchment.

This report, together with the findings detailed in the Flood Risk Mapping report commissioned by the Environment Agency in 2002 was submitted to all associated agencies.

Herewith the latest information received from the Environment Agency (EA) providing some headline notes following a meeting with NYCC (Lead Local Flood Authority) on 17 May and pursuant to the last meeting with Kirkbymoorside Town Council, NYCC and the EA on 25 March and provision by Kirkbymoorside Town Council of information in respect of the identification of land owners.

“Thanks you for your help gathering land ownership details. You'll see from the below that Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (YWT) are willing to support the Natural Flood Mitigation (NFM) elements of a scheme and have offered to lead on the project management and landowner engagement for this. Based on their experience of NFM delivery this makes sense and probably works best.

   1.     Building on the JBA report into NFM opportunities in the catchment, it was agreed that some drainage improvements, property level protection and natural flood management (NFM) opportunities could be investigated further as the works most likely to be technically feasible and fundable for the Town.

  2.      A strong partnership approach between EA, NYCC, Kirkbymoorside Town Council and landowners is however required to achieve this.

  3.      NYCC met with Yorkshire Water and raised the sewer discharge issue and mentioned this latest scheme discussion.

  4.      The EA has had preliminary contact with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (YWT) as a potential delivery partner for the NFM element. They are willing in principle to be involved and have provided some high level cost and time estimates.

  5.      We have used these estimates to increase the bid for grant in aid (GiA) funding and the EA and NYCC are in the process of drafting a Local Levy bid to seek additional funding from the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee.

  6.      If these avenues of funding are secured this year, we could ask YWT to begin engaging landowners and working on developing the scope of NFM interventions.

  7.      Kirkbymoorside Town Council can help with details and contacting landowners in the catchment.

  8.      The EA and NYCC can then work on a joint business case. It is estimated to take around 2 years to get to this point allowing for the project development work and project assurance that is required to claim the funding.

  9.      It’s suggested that proposals at Ravenswick Hall Estate for re-naturalising the site are discussed with Vicky Murray and the Yorkshire Derwent Catchment Partnership to link with wider strategies, knowledge and possibly funding.

  10.    The EA has raised this proposed scheme with an internal NFM practitioners group to draw on learning from other NFM schemes.

It is hoped that this offers suitable assurance that, whilst the Town Council is not the Local Flood Authority, it has taken every step possible to engage with all responsible agencies to ensure that the matter of flood risk within the catchment is addressed.

The latest update on the Flood Risk Management Project, dated 20 September 2023, is as follows:

Over the summer the project has secured an additional 10k from the North York Moors National Park’s Farming in Protected Landscapes Scheme, and has engaged with the River Restoration Centre, to support the feasibility and detailed design work to investigate floodplain reconnection opportunities at two sites along the River Dove.

Floodplain re-connection will restore natural processes to targeted parts of the river where currently the floodplain is not being activated regularly during high rainfall events. By activating the floodplain more regularly there is opportunity to slow the flow of floodwaters, reducing the volume within the river channel, providing a flood risk benefit downstream. Additional biodiversity benefits will also be developed alongside the plans, including floodplain meadow and wetland restoration work, to ensure the sites are delivering a multi-benefit approach.

Landowner engagement in the upper catchment is underway, with three farms visited so far and several more planned over the autumn and winter. A number of Natural Flood Mitigation (NFM) measures are being discussed with landowners including creating temporary flood storage areas, leaky dams, tree planting and soil aeration. It is anticipated some ‘quick win’ measures will be delivered over the coming winter as agreements with landowners are progressed.

A pipeline of NFM measures is being collated, which will support the submission of the full business case over the winter. Approval of the full business case will unlock the budget necessary to deliver these measures in 2024/2025.


Joe Allan

Flood and Coastal Risk Management Advisor

North Yorkshire, Partnership & Strategic Overview Team
Environment Agency | Foss House, Kings Pool, Peasholme Green, York, YO1 7PX