Extra £12.5m injected into River Aire flood defences

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Kirkstall Bridge Inn flood defences
Flood defences being installed at Kirkstall Bridge Inn. Photo: Keef Williamson

An extra £12.56 million has been injected into a scheme to build flood defences on the banks of the River Aire.

A council report blamed rising inflation for the increased costs of implementing the £105 million Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme Phase 2 between Leeds train station and Apperley Bridge.

The funding has been secured by West Yorkshire Combined Authority from the government’s Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy.

A council report said: “This injection of funding enables the forthcoming LFAS2 programme of works to continue and to ensure the full scheme progresses to completion. The increased projected scheme cost is a result of hyper-inflation caused by unpredictable world events, as well as the impacts of; Covid, Brexit and Storm Dudley.

“If the funding is not drawn down this financial year (2022/23) it will no longer be available to the scheme. It is therefore crucial the necessary approvals are put in place swiftly.”

Leeds FAS2 is made up of a combination of catchment-wide natural flood management, as well as traditional engineering that stretches for 14km along the River Aire between Leeds Train Station and Apperley Bridge.

When it is complete in autumn 2023, Leeds FAS2 will reduce flood risk to a 0.5% probability of occurring in any given year (a 1-in-200-year level of flood protection) for 1,048 homes and 474 businesses.

This level of protection includes an allowance for climate change up to 2069 and will be effective for similar events to the boxing day floods in 2015, which cost Leeds an estimated £36.8m and the city region more than £500m.

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