Ministers urged to ‘stop dithering’ over Leeds flood defences

18 September 2018

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An MP has criticised the Government for dragging its feet over urgently-needed flood defences in West Leeds.

The move comes after ministers cancelled a planned meeting this month to discuss the Environment Agency scheme to protect the city following the December 2015 floods which saw parts of Kirkstall, Burley and Rodley submerged when the River Aire broke its banks as a result of Storm Eva.

The Environment Agency is currently reviewing the £112 million second phase proposal for flood defences in the area.

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves has urged ministers to stop ‘dithering’over the scheme. She said:

“This latest delay is woefully unacceptable. It will do nothing to reassure those hit by the terrible 2015 floods that their businesses, property and livelihoods are properly protected from floods.

“With winter coming, it looks like the Government is kicking this issue into the long grass.

“These delays will be a huge blow to residents and businesses in Kirkstall who were promised ‘the right level of flood protection’ by the Government more than two years ago.

“The Government and the Environment Agency must not leave homes and businesses at risk of possible floods this winter. The potential damage from more catastrophic flooding could far exceed the costs of flood defences.

“Ministers and officials need to stop dithering and get on with getting the flood defences that they promised in place as a matter of urgency.”

Adrian Gill, flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, said the body was “fully committed” to cutting flood risks. He said:

“We have recently written to Leeds City Council to confirm our review of their Outline Business Case and will continue to work with them to secure the best possible scheme for Leeds.”

Other properties flooded in 2015 included the Industrial Museum in Armley, Leeds Rhinos’ training facilities in Kirkstall and the Rodley Nature Reserve.


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