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Sat September 25 2021

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Plans in for £112m upstream Leeds flood defences

7 Dec 18 Plans for the next phase of the Leeds flood alleviation scheme to reduce flood risk along the River Aire have been submitted.

Kirkstall Road flooded in December 2015  (Photo: Environment Agency)
Kirkstall Road flooded in December 2015 (Photo: Environment Agency)

Leeds City Council has worked with the Environment Agency to put forward a planning application for £112m second phase for areas upstream of Leeds city centre.

The design and access statement was prepared for the city council by BAM Nuttall Mott MacDonald Joint Venture (BMMJV), which delivered the first phase of the flood alleviation scheme downstream of the city centre.

A range of further measures have now been put forward to reduce the risk of flooding along a 14km stretch along the River Aire catchment, including the A65 Kirkstall corridor, which was badly hit by the impact of Storm Eva at Christmas 2015, and ending at Apperley Bridge in Bradford.

If approved, work is expected to start next summer.

The plans feature measures such as new defence walls, embankments and a large flood storage area. As part of the application it focuses on four key areas of Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, Kirkstall Abbey and Kirkstall Meadows, Apperley Bridge and Calverley.

The scheme also incorporates a flagship natural flood management programme, creating new woodland and other natural features to help reduce the flow of rainwater into the river.

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Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake said: “This planning application is an important step in our commitment to providing Leeds with the level of flood defences it needs.  If it is approved it would mean we can get on with starting the work we can carry out now, which is vital to provide our residents and businesses with reassurance and confidence as we come up on three years since the devastation caused by the impact of Storm Eva.

“We will continue to pursue all options to secure the remaining funding to deliver the scheme to one-in-200-year level in full.”

Environment Agency flood risk manager Adrian Gill said: “The joint project team have worked hard to get to this point. We are keen, through this consultation process, to understand what the public think about the proposed scheme.

“If approved, it will enable our team to begin works at pace, extending the level of protection in the city centre out to the Kirkstall area, whilst we continue to work towards our ambition of a 1-in-200-year level of protection from the River Aire for the whole city.”

At Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, which suffered significant flood damage in 2015, the defence works include new protective walls, a new pipe bridge to improve water flow and two new control structures on the goit. At Kirkstall Meadows the proposal is to transform 2.4 hectares into a wetland habitat to hold flood water and also feature kingfisher banks, otter holts and wetland scrapes for fish.

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