Otley Flood Alleviation Scheme

We are working together with the Environment Agency to identify a solution to reduce the risk of flooding at Farnley Lane and Bridge Avenue in Otley.

Flooding can have a devastating effect on peoples’ lives, homes and businesses. Protecting towns such as Otley is vital.


Flood risk is increasing in the UK. Otley experienced flooding three times in November and December 2015. On 26 December 2015, over 50 residential properties were flooded. Most of the flooding was located on Farnley Lane and Bridge Avenue in the centre of Otley and resulted from the River Wharfe overtopping its banks.

Farnley Lane, Bridge Avenue and the River Wharfe, Jan 2018 Farnley Lane, Bridge Avenue and the River Wharfe, Jan 2018

In the Autumn Statement 2016, the Government announced that up to £2 million would be available to invest in a scheme to better protect homes and businesses in the historic market town of Otley. We are leading the scheme in Otley and also working closely with the Environment Agency.

Hydraulic modelling, environmental surveys, geotechnical investigations, along with a number of other assessments have been undertaken by the scheme consultant, WSP. The hydraulic model for Otley is now complete and the team have modelled over 30 scenarios for reducing flood risk in Otley. A short list of options has been developed and is now being analysed to determine the best scheme for Otley. Design of the preferred option is set to start in the summer of 2018, with construction expected to commence in autumn 2019.

What are we doing?

We are working with the Environment Agency to adopting a catchment-wide approach. Otley Flood Alleviation Scheme is one of several schemes that will combat flooding and the effect of climate change in the Wharfe catchment. The entire area is being considered for opportunities to reduce flood risk.

This approach looks at a combination of natural processes and engineered solutions that will slow the flow and store flood waters in the upper Wharfe catchment. Ultimately this will reduce peak levels in the River Wharfe, reducing flood risk in the catchment as a whole.

River Wharfe Catchment River Wharfe Catchment

Business case

We are aiming to submit the outline business case for the Otley Flood Alleviation Scheme to the Environment Agency and submit an outline planning application for the scheme in April 2019. The business case will look to secure the funding for the scheme going forward and the planning application will look to secure planning permission from within the council to construct the scheme in principal.

Stay up to date

The project team produces a quarterly newsletter.

The latest newsletter (PDF 751KB)

The project team also hold regular drop-in events and working slots to update the community on progress with the developing scheme, give people an opportunity to come and meet the team, leave feedback and ask any questions.

Dates for the diary

Otley volunteer river clean-up days

We work in partnership with the Environment Agency and the River Stewardship Company run volunteer days to improve the waterfront in Otley. Activities on the day could include litter picking along the watercourse, assisting with the removal of debris, and assisting in vegetation management.

All personal protective wear will be provided on the day, however please come in clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. We recommend long trousers, waterproofs, sturdy footwear, and sun cream to cover all weather conditions.

Hot drinks and biscuits will be provided throughout the day. Lunch is not provided, but there will be a break for lunch where you can pick up something from one of the local sandwich shops or bring a packed lunch with you.

The next volunteering sessions are currently being arranged. Details will be added to this page soon.

Sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date about our volunteering sessions and the Otley FAS scheme. Email FRM@leeds.gov.uk or call us on 07766 352 932 to register for updates. If you would like to come to a volunteering day, please contact us in advance.

Drop-in events

The Otley FAS team run a number of engagement sessions to keep residents up to the date with the latest plans. In these sessions, you will have the opportunity to:

  • learn how we’re progressing with the scheme
  • ask your questions to the project team
  • share your feedback on the proposals

Future events

There are no sessions currently scheduled.

Past events

Material from the last drop-in event is available to download:

Further information

You can check if you are eligible for the free flood warning service and sign up by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or by visiting the Gov.uk flood advice page external link.

Here you can find a wide range of information and advice to check your risk of flooding, how to prepare for flooding, develop a flood plan and what type of action you can take to protect yourself and your property from flooding.

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