The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Yorkshire Farming and Wildlife Partnership and the Environment Agency are pleased to announce a funding opportunity for landowners and farmers in the Upper Aire catchment.

We invite you to trial this innovative online auction tool for delivering land management measures, which has been developed in partnership between the Environment Agency and the Sylva Foundation.

This reverse auction-style platform is the way we are inviting bids to deliver water quality improvements and natural flood management within the catchment.

The auction will open at 00:00 on 15/03/2021 and close at 23:59 on 28/03/2021.


Bids accepted for Buffer Strips, Drinking Points, Fencing, New Hedgerows and Soil Aeration
Bids accepted for all of the above measures plus Leaky Dams, Tree Planting and Wetland Scrapes

This pilot project is an opportunity for landowners and farmers to bid for funding to carry out targeted interventions on their land which will help to improve water quality and flood management as well as creating other benefits such as better soil health, greater biodiversity and carbon sequestration.

Landowners and farmers can select locations on their land for the measures, and bid an amount to carry out these works. The most competitive bids will receive funding after a review to achieve the best possible balanced outcomes for the catchment.

What you can deliver under this funding;

  • Buffer Strips (anywhere in the Upper Aire)
  • Fencing (anywhere in the Upper Aire)
  • Drinking Points (anywhere in the Upper Aire)
  • New Hedgerows (anywhere in the Upper Aire)
  • Soil Aeration (anywhere in the Upper Aire)
  • Leaky Dams (Otterburn Beck from Source to River Aire and Aire from Otterburn Beck to Eshton Beck only)
  • Tree Planting (Otterburn Beck from Source to River Aire and Aire from Otterburn Beck to Eshton Beck only)
  • Wetland Scrapes (Otterburn Beck from Source to River Aire and Aire from Otterburn Beck to Eshton Beck only)

Who can apply and for what areas?

Landowners and farmers can bid for funding for any land within the Upper Aire catchment. We will evaluate all bids within this area, but please note there are seven priority waterbodies that will receive double weighting for this funding (as listed in Table 1) along with certain measures that can only be delivered in the sub catchments of Otterburn Beck from its source to joining the River Aire, and the River Aire from Otterburn Beck to Eshton Beck. The map above shows all these areas.

The waterbodies in table 1 are considered a priority by the Environment Agency as they do not meet good ecological status. By weighting these water bodies we are encouraging improvements to their water quality and improving natural flood management in these areas.

Table 1 7 Priority water bodies for the Upper Aire Nature Bid auction
Water body IDWater body NameLink to further information
GB104027063110Aire from Malham Tarn to Malham Beck
GB104027063050Aire from Otterburn Beck to Eshton Beck
GB104027063080Flasby Beck from Source to Eshton Beck
GB104027062930Glusburn Beck from source to Lothersdale
GB104027063130Gordale Beck from Source to Malham Beck
GB104027063010Langber Beck from Source to Earby Beck
GB104027063090Otterburn Beck from Source to River Aire

What is the aim of Upper Aire NatureBid?

We want to slow the flow of water in the catchment as well as improving water quality and habitat.

NatureBid is being funded by the Environment Agency through the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme (FAS) and the Upper Aire Project (UAP).

The Leeds FAS Natural Flood Management (NFM) project will give an essential 5% reduction to peak flows in the River Aire during a 1 in 200 flood (a 1 in 200 chance of flooding in any given year or 0.5% each year - these are extreme events). This will help protect those at risk of flooding in Leeds and along the River Aire. This will be achieved by delivering a number NFM measures within the catchment to reduce the timing and magnitude of flood peaks.

The UAP is a separate partnership project with YWT which aims to improve water quality. It covers sixteen waterbodies with a total catchment of more than 356km². Much of the Upper Aire catchment is adversely affected by the impacts of sediment and diffuse pollution (the combined effects of erosion, flooding, and run off from rural land). The UAP will restore these watercourses to good ecological status whilst preventing deterioration in others, so that ecosystem benefits delivered by them can be improved.