Flood defence work to start in December with ‘negligible’ impact on otters

Kirkstall Road floods Leeds
Devastating: Kirkstall Road was flooded in 2015. PHOTO: Lizzie Coombes/@bettylawless

Words: Chris Young, local democracy reporter

Flood works in Apperley Bridge and Esholt will have a “negligible” impact on the otter population, Leeds Council has claimed.

As part of the authority’s efforts to reduce flooding in them Kirkstall Valley and Leeds City Centre, the council had proposed a number of works in the Bradford District, including re-alignment of sections of the River Aire.

A planning application for the works was approved by Bradford Council earlier this year, and work is expected to start next month.

One of the many conditions of the application was that before work started, the Council would have to submit an “otter strategy” to make sure the works did not harm any otters that may be living on that stretch of the river.

This document has now been submitted to Bradford Council, and claims there are no “active otter resting sites” in the area. It said:

“No signs of recent otter activity were recorded in 2021, apart from one dry and decomposing spraint.

“It is considered likely that the impacts on otters as a result of the proposed works within site will be negligible. As none of the otter resting sites identified are considered to be active, there will not be any effect on the local population or breeding status of otter and no permanent detriment will occur.”

The application reveals that work is due to start in December and end in March 2023.


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