Bodington Fields

Work begins: March 2019
Work due to be completed: May 2022
Contractors: Environment Agency


A natural flood management facility at the Brownlee Triathlon Centre, University of Leeds, has now been completed. The first of its kind in the UK, it will reduce flood risk in the area and make it more resilient to the impacts of climate change. Some of the measures include the planting of 5,000 trees, creating leaky barriers, installing a balancing pond and wetland areas, and improving site drainage which help to slow the flow of water and increase flood resilience in the area.

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Created in partnership with the Environment Agency and Leeds City Council, Bodington Fields demonstrate a variety of the Natural Flood Management (NFM) intervention measures that are being implemented across the Upper Aire Catchment as part of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme.  These interventions are described in more detail below and provide an excellent opportunity for Living Lab research and teaching, as well as improved biodiversity and giving the local community an opportunity to engage with the University.

Leaky wood damns – The wood dams capture fine sediment and flood material that might otherwise block drains, as well as holding flood water during high rainfall.

Balancing pond – Balancing ponds are created to hold water runoff from rainfall that would otherwise flow very quickly into streams where it would contribute to flooding.

Wetland scrapes and cross-track drains – The wetland scrapes hold water away from more vulnerable areas whilst the cross-track drains run across the pathways, encouraging surface water to run away from roads and tracks rather than along them.

Wildflower areas – The wildflower areas here have been seeded to produce a rich assortment of flowers that act as a source of food and habitat to attract a wide range of insects.

Overland flow barriers – The large earthworks help to trap surface water, creating temporary ponds which store rainwater that would otherwise flow into rivers or onto roads.

Woodland and tree planting – The trees play an important role in stopping or slowing rainfall before it hits the ground, and making it harder for water to run off into streams. This gives the water time to soak into the soil.

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