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COP26: Communities have role to play on Climate Change

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Leading natural flood management charity Slow the Flow will be highlighting the important role communities have to play in reducing the risk of flooding as world leaders meet in Glasgow for COP26 – the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference.

Slow the Flow, set up after the Boxing Day floods in 2015 which caused devastation in the Calder Valley, West Yorkshire, is planning a busy schedule of activities over the coming weeks to promote the effectiveness of natural flood management strategies such as building leaky dams and attenuation ponds and planting trees.

Towns in the Calder Valley such as Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd have flooded repeatedly in recent years, wrecking thousands of homes and businesses as the geography of the area has been unable to cope with the increased rainfall caused by climate change.

Slow the Flow has worked with local partners and over 1000 volunteers to build nearly 700 leaky dams at Hardcastle Crags, a property owned by The National Trust, to help slow the flow of water down the surrounding hillsides and is currently developing resources on natural flood management for primary and secondary schools.

Slow the Flow chair Bede Mullen said told the HebWeb, "People living and working in the Calder Valley have felt the brunt of severe weather events and know from direct experience how vital it is that world leaders make real progress tackling climate change at COP26. But communities must take action too and we have shown what can be achieved when people living and working in flood hit areas come together to fight back and build climate resilience."


The Slow the Flow events are being organised with local partners including the National Trust, Environment Agency, Calderdale Council, the Mayor of Todmorden, the Calder Rivers Trust and Treesponsibility and include:

  • Half-term education event for families at Hardcastle Crags (30 October)
  • Tree planting in Knott Wood, Hebden Bridge (30 October)
  • Open Evening on Natural Flood Management in Todmorden Town hall (1 November)
  • Global Day of Action on COP26 – (6 November)
  • Leaky Dam building with volunteers at Hardcastle Crags (7 November)

There will be media opportunities at all events and Slow the Flow will have media spokespeople available in the run up to and during COP26 to talk about community action on climate change and the benefits of natural flood management.

See Slow the Flow website