Yorkshire iCASP

The Yorkshire Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme (iCASP) is an ambitious and exciting call to action: a research translation programme to deliver benefits worth more than £50M to the regional economy. Projects supported by the programme  are co-created by researchers and partners from a range of different organisations active in the Ouse basin, using existing science funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

To achieve maximum impact for urban and rural communities, iCASP’s strategy will focus on collaborations between scientists, government authorities, businesses and charitable organisations which:

  •  Improve responses and long-term resilience to floods and droughts in urban and rural areas;
  •  Advance understanding of dynamics and interactions in river catchments, including peatlands, upland land cover and management, rivers, waterways, water quality, and sustainable agriculture.

Steep upland areas of the catchment make forecasting floods challenging.

 

What makes iCASP different?

The programme will be promoting an approach to problem-solving that involves joined-up thinking and planning across all aspects of river catchment systems, from upland areas through urban areas to lowland agriculture. Such a holistic approach is rarely attempted, but the design of the iCASP programme will hold true to the principle of integration. It will enable a range of stakeholders to tackle catchment-wide issues using the latest innovative catchment-relevant science.

iCASP is therefore a novel programme that will see scientists, local government, businesses, and charities work together to make a difference to planning, policy and practice across a wide range of sectors that need to understand catchment dynamics.

Peatland restoration, and upland land cover and management, such as on Ilkley Moor, are part of an integrated catchment approach.

What are iCASP's aims?

Scientists, partners and stakeholders will co-produce projects with the aim of translating science to generate economic, societal and environmental benefits for the region. Aims include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • To improve climate resilience in the region’s cities through the policies and investment strategies of local authorities, and major infrastructure owners.
  • To work towards improved management of drought and flood risk
  • To support regional flood forecasting, working closely with the  Environment Agency and the Met Office on meeting regional challenges of upland terrain, rapid response catchments and urban flooding
  • To develop novel approaches to improve water quality
  • To enhance carbon storage in soils and woodlands.

Sustainable agriculture has a key role in iCASP

What area does iCASP cover?

iCASP will focus on the Yorkshire Ouse catchment, which is home to 6.7% of UK population, 30% of the Northern Powerhouse region, covers a third of the land area of Northern England, and includes 10 Metropolitan Boroughs. In the future, we expect to export the philosophy and structure of this programme to other catchments in the UK and internationally.

The Yorkshire River Ouse drainage basin (within red dotted line), the focus for iCASP

 

Who is involved?

iCASP has four academic partners: the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York, and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, and sixteen key springboard partners from across the region: UK Met Office, Environment Agency, Natural England, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Leeds City Council, York City Council, Leeds City Region LEP, Yorkshire Water, Arup, JBA Consulting, National Farmers Union, Dales to Vales Rivers Network, IUCN UK Peatland Programme, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Pennine Prospects, LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming).

We also want to reach out to other organisations through our Yorkshire Catchment Solutions Forum. If you think your organisation could benefit from involvement in the programme please send an email to: icasp@leeds.ac.uk

Water management and urban resilience are key themes in iCASP. River Aire and the Leeds-Liverpool canal running through Saltaire, the site of flooding on Boxing Day, 2015