Otley Flood Alleviation Scheme

Leeds City Council and the Environment Agency are working together to identify a solution to reduce the risk of flooding at Farnley Lane and Bridge Avenue, 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 26th 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. The scheme in Otley is being led by Leeds City Council who are 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?

Leeds City Council and the Environment Agency are 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 Wharfe Catchment 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

Leeds City Council 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 December 2018. 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 Leeds City Council to construct the scheme in principal.

Stay up to date

The project team produces a quarterly newsletter which is available in the related documents section of this page.

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.

Material from the most recent drop in event on 21 June 2018 is available to download:

Dates for the diary

Members of the Project Team will be working regularly from Otley Town Council’s office over the next few months, so please call in for a chat.

  • Wednesday 7 November, 3 - 6pm
  • Thursday 13 December, 3 - 6pm

The Core
Unit 11
Orchard Gate
Otley, LS21 3NX
Get directions on Google Maps

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 www.gov.uk/flood.

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.

Contact us


(Please include ‘Otley FAS’ in the subject )