WORK has started on a pioneering project to test how natural solutions such as creating wetlands can help reduce the risk of flooding near Earby.

Diggers moved onto Marlfield Farm on the banks of the River Aire to start on the scheme on Tuesday with a completion date of before Christmas.

The works by the Environment Agency will include hedge planting and fencing off corners of fields from grazing so that more vegetation can grow.

The work will also instal leaky barriers to slow the flow of rainwater while providing a better habitat for wildlife.

The scheme follows the completion of a £1million flood prevention project to repair and partially replace the Victoria Clough culvert in Earby.

The farm is owned by Daniel Procter, his wife Heather and parents Howard and Lynda.

Chris Milburn, project executive at the EA, said: “We are very grateful to the Procters for working with us to trial these Natural Flood Management techniques which will contribute to local flood risk reduction and provide wider environmental benefits.

Mrs Heather Procter said: “The creation of new ponds, wetland habitats and hedgerows will complement our existing efforts to boost the biodiversity on our farm and in the local area.”

Adam Rollitt, chief executive of the River Stewardship Company who are carrying out the works, said: “We are really excited to have the opportunity to bring in our expertise around waterways and land management to such a fantastic project."