Otley project wins civil engineering award

A few days after passing its first test at the hands of storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin, there was more good news for the Otley Flood Mitigation Program (Otley FAS).

Recently, the program won the prestigious Smeaton Prize at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Yorkshire and Humber Awards ceremony in Leeds.

The awards celebrate civil engineering achievements in the Yorkshire and Humber region, with the Smeaton Prize being the top prize for projects with a budget of less than £5 million.

Judges praised the green approach to flood control, the way the project enhances biodiversity through natural lighting at Kell Beck, and praised the project for successfully completing work so close to the Otley Bridge , a former listed monument.

Work to mitigate flooding in Otley began in 2016, in response to devastating flooding from Storm Eva on Boxing Day 2015. In March 2020, plans for a £4.5m scheme were approved by Leeds City Council. Construction began in March 2021 and the project was operational in November 2021.

The scheme was developed to reduce the likelihood of flooding of the road at Billams Hill and properties on Farnley Lane and Bridge Avenue from 20% in any given year to 4% in any given year.

In March 2022, Councilor Helen Hayden, Executive Member of Leeds City Council for Infrastructure and Climate, joined a group of stakeholders from the Otley Flood Mitigation Scheme (Otley FAS) to visit the site of the works completed and observe the state of the system. following its success through storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin.

Over 6 days in February 2022, the three consecutive storms brought more precipitation than the overall average for February. This resulted in levels on the River Wharfe reaching 1.92 meters on Sunday February 20, similar to those of Storm Ciara in February 2020 when flooding was recorded at Billams Hill.

High river levels provided the first test of the newly completed FAS Otley. As expected, the diet was effective. He succeeded in stopping flood waters from escaping into the road at Billams Hill, allowing the road to remain open. There was also no flooding at Farnley Lane or Bridge Avenue properties.