Bradford, United Kingdom
City population: 521035
Duration: 2004 – 2005
Implementation status: Completed
Scale: Sub-microscale: Street scale (including buildings)
Project area: unknown
Type of area: Natural Heritage Area
Last updated: October 2021

The Wetlands uses natural processes for water treatment and involved local communities in the regeneration of the area. The Wetlands were constructed in 2005 by diverting a small flow of Chellow Dene Beck through a constructed wetland designed to improve the appearance, water quality and biodiversity of the site. It consists of a series of ponds at the lower end of the site that acts together to remove impurities from the water before returning it to the beck further downstream. The creation of wetlands and maintenance is also a part of the larger Bradford beck project. (reference 1) The site is also used as a recreational trail for the local people and tourists (ref 4). As the reservoir is a local recreational centre it also promotes (paid) recreational fishing activities in some designated spots (ref 5).


Nature-based solution

  • Blue infrastructure
  • Lakes/ponds
  • Wetlands/bogs/fens/marshes
  • Green areas for water management
  • Sustainable urban drainage systems

Key challenges

  • Water management (SDG 6)
  • Stormwater and rainfall management and storage
  • Green space, habitats and biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Habitat and biodiversity conservation
  • Green space creation and/or management
  • Social justice, cohesion and equity (SDG 10)
  • Environmental education
  • Social interaction
  • Health and well-being (SDG 3)
  • Creation of opportunities for relaxation and recreation
  • Cultural heritage and cultural diversity
  • Protection of historic and cultural landscape/infrastructure


Creation of new green areas, Knowledge creation and awareness raising

Project objectives

1. Regeneration of the area (ref 1); 2. Use of natural processes for water treatment (ref 2); 3. Improve the appearance, water quality and biodiversity of the site (ref 1); 4. Create an attractive recreational area (ref 1); 5. Create informal educational activities (ref 1); 6. Social engagement (ref 1 and 2); 7. Recreational fishing site (ref 5); 8. Recreational swimming and bathing in the reservoir (ref 6).

Implementation activities

1. Creation of ponds: By diverting a small flow of Chellow Dene Beck through a constructed wetland to improve the appearance, water quality and biodiversity of the site. (ref 1 and 2) 2. Forming a steering group and involving the local community. Local residents worked as a steering group making decisions about access onto the Wetlands and the location of pathways (ref 1) 3. Creation of recreational fishing of local fishes (ref 6)

Biodiversity conservation or restoration-focused activities

Biodiversity conservation:

  • Protect and enhance urban habitats
  • Promote environmentally-sound development in and around protected areas
  • Means for conservation governance
  • Raise public awareness
  • Public engagement

Main beneficiaries

  • Local government/Municipality
  • Citizens or community groups
  • Young people and children


Management set-up

  • Government-led

Type of initiating organisation

  • Local government/municipality

Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Co-planning
  • Consultation (e.g. workshop, surveys)
  • Joint implementation (e.g. tree planting)

Details on the roles of the organisations involved in the project

The Wetlands Project is part of The Urban Water Cycle scheme by Bradford city - testing two methods of water purification to find the best way of treating Bradford Beck (ref 2). These have been driven by the local authority, with financial support from two EA INTERREG projects (NORIS (No Rain In Sewers) and UWC (Urban Water Cycle) (ref 3) The Chellow Dene reservoirs, which were built in the mid-19th century to provide a stable water supply for the people of Bradford. The reservoir was acquired by Bradford Council in 1974 and are now maintained for recreational purposes (ref 4).

Project implemented in response to ...

... an EU policy or strategy? Yes (Water Framework Directive is mentioned in connection with (NORIS (No Rain In Sewers) and UWC (Urban Water Cycle) INTERREG projects (Ref 3))
... a national policy or strategy? Unknown
... a local policy or strategy? Yes (Bradford city's regeneration plans - The Urban Water Cycle scheme (reference 2))


Total cost


Source(s) of funding

  • EU funds

Type of funding

  • Direct funding or subsidy

Non-financial contribution


Impacts and Monitoring

Environmental impacts

  • Environmental quality
  • Improved soil quality
  • Water management and blue areas
  • Improved water quality
  • Improved stormwater management
  • Green space and habitat
  • Increased green space area

Economic impacts

  • More sustainable tourism

Socio-cultural impacts

  • Social justice and cohesion
  • Increased opportunities for social interaction
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Gain in activities for recreation and exercise
  • Education
  • Increased knowledge of locals about local nature

Type of reported impacts

Expected impacts

Presence of formal monitoring system


Presence of indicators used in reporting

No evidence in public records

Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports

No evidence in public records

Availability of a web-based monitoring tool

No evidence in public records