Plans submitted for £112m Leeds flood defence project

WCN Editorial Team 11 Dec 2018 EUROPE BUILDINGS

Leeds City Council has submitted plans for the next phase of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme to reduce flood risk along the River Aire in the UK.

The council has worked with the Environment Agency to prepare a planning application for phase two of the scheme, which will invest £112.1m in flood prevention measures for areas upstream of Leeds city centre.

Several measures have been proposed to reduce the risk of flooding along a 14km stretch along the River Aire catchment, including the A65 Kirkstall Corridor which was affected by Storm Eva at Christmas 2015, and ending at Apperley Bridge, Bradford.

The plans include the two-step process that has been developed, which is aimed at giving a one-in-200-year level of enhanced protection against flooding for Leeds, helping to protect 1,485 homes and 370 businesses.

If the plans are approved, work on the first step, a one-in-100 year level of protection, is expected to commence in next summer.

The plans include measures such as new defence walls, embankments and a large flood storage area.

As part of the application, the scheme focuses on four key areas – Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, Kirkstall Abbey and Kirkstall Meadows, Apperley Bridge and Calverley.

The Leeds Industrial Museum suffered flood damage in 2015.

The project also incorporates a Natural Flood Management programme.

Leeds City Council and the Environment Agency will work with partners and landowners to deliver a range of measures, including the creation of new woodland and other natural features.

These will help reduce the flow of rainwater into the river and reduce the impact of climate change.

The council will seek additional planning approvals from the relevant authorities as the catchment wide programme develops.

At Leeds Industrial Museum, the works will include new protective walls, a new pipe bridge to improve water flow and two new control structures on the goit.

The plan for at Kirkstall Meadows is to transform 2.4 hectares into a wetland habitat to hold flood water and will also feature kingfisher banks, otter holts and wetland scrapes for fish.

Other features of the scheme, including new bridges and footpath improvements, will be mentioned in a separate planning application.

The second element of the process will be taken up if further funding is secured.

This will complete the River Aire scheme with the creation of a flood storage area near Calverley, which will use the moveable weir technology used in phase one of the scheme in the city centre to allow water to be stored and then be released into the river in a controlled way.

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Image: The flood defences planned at Kirkstall Meadows. Photo: Courtesy of Leeds City Council.

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