Bradford Council is set to expand its peatland restoration programme on the district’s moorlands as part of its response to the climate and nature emergency.

The council has committed £200,000 of fresh funding to re-wet areas of moorland by blocking drainage ditches, installing leaky dams and planting sphagnum moss, which can hold up to 20 times its own weight in water.

The funding builds on work already carried out on Ilkley Moor in partnership with the Environment Agency at Backstone Beck, which used similar techniques to encourage water to soak slowly into the landscape to rewet peat bogs. So far, monitoring data shows a reduction in peak flows of water from the moor, reducing flood risk in the valley below.

As such, the funding will allow the council to mirror these early successes on other becks on Ilkley Moor, such as Hebers Ghyll and Spicey Gill, and other publicly-owned moorland sites, such as Harden Moor at Bingley and Penistone Hill at Haworth.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said that the funding will underscore the council’s commitment to tackling the climate and nature emergency and that “we aim to secure multiple benefits from our moorlands – carbon capture, peat restoration, improved biodiversity, better air and water quality, flood reduction and resilience to wildfire.”

He added that the moors, in addition to providing places for outdoor recreation, can provide significant benefits to the environment which the Council is seeking to maximise over the long-term with nature-friendly moorland management.