Faculty of Environment

Yorkshire iCASP

What is iCASP?

iCASP is an exciting new 5-year programme that will start in spring 2017, and the first seven new posts will be advertised soon. iCASP aims to generate transformative impacts worth more than £50M to the regional economy by building on NERC-funded science to generate economic, societal and environmental benefits in rural and urban areas of Yorkshire.

iCASP is a call to action – a research translation programme that will enable scientists to actively communicate and collaborate with government authorities, businesses and charitable organisations in order to:

  • 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
Steep upland areas of the catchment make forecasting floods challenging

Why is iCASP different?

Integrated catchment solutions refer to those measures that involve joined-up thinking and planning across all aspects of river catchment systems, from upland areas through urban areas to lowland agriculture. The programme will enable a range of stakeholders to tackle catchment-wide issues, through use of the latest innovative catchment-relevant science.

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

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

What are the aims of iCASP?

Scientists, partners and stakeholders will co-produce projects with the aim of translating science to generate economic, societal and environmental benefits to 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
The role of sustainable agriculture is a key component of iCASP
The role of sustainable agriculture is a key component of 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 the philosophy and structure of this programme will be exported to other catchments in the UK and internationally.

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

Who is involved?

iCASP has 4 academic partners, the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York, and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, and 16 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 via our 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
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