Council chiefs have signed off the next £36.2 million phase of flood defence works along the banks of the River Aire in West Leeds.
A two-year construction programme start this summer on flood defences which will provide a 1 in 200 year level of flood protection as part of the Phase Two Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme.
Surrey-based BMM JV Limited have been appointed undertake the works, which are mainly funded by the government.
A council report approving the expenditure concludes:
“In a decade since the conception of the Phase One proposals and at a total overall cost of approximately £162million, the city will have been defended from the River Aire through the benefit of an holistic 1 in 200 year level of protection with allowance for climate change to 2069, reducing the risk of the devastating physical and economic damage which can occur from flood events.”
The flood defence work comes five years on from Storm Eva and the Boxing Day floods which saw the River Aire break its banks and flood businesses along the Kirkstall Valley and in the city centre.
So what exactly is being done?
Phase two of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme is split into two steps and involves work across the River Aire catchment, including new defence walls, embankments and a flood storage area.
The work is being split into zones to simultaneously develop detailed designs in some areas and commence construction in others.
Step one of Phase two, at a cost of £87m, will reduce the risk of flooding to a one percent probability of occurring in any given year (one in 100 year) and will run along an 8km stretch upstream of Leeds station including three key areas – Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, Kirkstall Abbey and Kirkstall Meadows.
Construction on this first step began in January 2020, with flood walls being installed in locations along the River Aire corridor between Wellington Bridge and Kirkstall.
Step two of the scheme increases this protection, reducing flood risk to a 0.5 percent probability of occurring in any given year (one in 200 year), including an allowance for climate change.
In full, the scheme is due to be complete in winter 2022/23 and will provide a consistent one in 200 year probability of flood protection to the River Aire between Apperley Bridge and Knostrop.