Aire Catchment Network

Viewing draft river basin management plan data.

Catchment partnership vision

The River Aire, and its catchment, will be recognised as a gold-standard example of the recovery of a post-industrial river. It will be a thriving river, valued for its environmental, social and economic benefits. It will be appreciated by the community for its diverse ecology and contribution to flood risk management. We aim to improve the following:

  • Habitat and Species; create a landscape scale ecological network
  • Water Management; improve water quality to WFD standards or potential, minimise flood risk, promote sensitive land management, land-use to maximise water attenuation addressing urban diffuse and rural diffuse pollution
  • Planning and Regeneration; realise opportunities through planning processes, river improvements support a healthy local economy
  • Recreation and Leisure; maximise recreational resources whist avoiding detrimental impacts on wildlife
  • Engagement and Education; develop and deliver projects which empower communities to take ownership of their river.

Yorkshire Farming and Wildlife Partnership

Catchment challenges

Current challenges identified by partnership

  • Pollution from waste water

    Sewage treatment works impact on water quality

  • Physical modifications

    Many barriers and canalised reaches impact on fish passage

  • Pollution from agriculture and rural areas

    ​agricultural runoff containing silt and phosphate leads impacts on water quality

Future challenges predicted by partnership

  • Pollution from towns, cities and transport

  • Pollution from waste water

  • Pollution from agriculture and rural areas

Future challenges predicted by Environment Agency

Future challenges in 2050

  • Invasive Non-native Species
  • Physical Modifications
  • Pollution from Towns Cities and Transport

Emerging challenges

  • Changes to the Natural Flow and Water Levels
  • Physical Modifications
  • Pollution from Agriculture and Rural Areas

Partnership success highlights 2016 to 2021

Since 2016, some of our success include:

  • Developing the Natural Aire (DNAire) - enabling passage of salmonids up to Skipton by building 4 fish passes and a community engagement programme
  • Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme 2
  • natural flood management – Aire catchment-wide programme, designed to reduce the flood flooding and deliver a range of multi benefits through working with natural processes
  • Upper Aire habitat and land management project – working in the predominantly rural Upper Aire catchment, this 9 year partnership works with farmers to change practices to ensure water improvement and habitat creation
  • Live Streaming Leeds – a 6 year project with Leeds City Council, completing works on Wyke Beck, Meanwood Beck and Wortley Beck catchments
  • Invasive Non-Native species (INNS) - over the last 5 years, Environment Agency and partners (Aire Rivers Trust, Friends of Bradford Beck) have completed an INNS treatment programme (Japanese knotweed and giant hogweed)
  • the last 2 years the Aire Catchment Network has expanded and in 2020 created a new full time catchment officer.


Partnership development plans

In the coming years we would like to see:

  • an expansion of more collaborative bids across the catchment
  • an expansion of interventions and projects in the Lower Aire - particular areas of focus include a citizen Science programme and growing community involvement
  • strengthen the integration of flood risk interests for a catchment approach to water management, river restoration and fish passage
  • working with landowners for best practise land management
  • catchment phosphate reduction.

Partnership priority actions and measures for 2022 to 2027