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Kirkstall flood defences: ‘We’re far from seeing anything actually happening on the ground’

New raised flood defences between Newlay and Leeds city centre could help prevent flooding along Kirkstall Road, a new Environment Agency report has said.

The Leeds Flood Alleviation Scoping Report, which was commissioned after the Boxing Day floods, says work around the River Aire could start by the end of next year.

But Agency chiefs have warned that construction could take at least five years.

Proposals are likely to include walls and embankments, as well as water storgae schemes, better drainage and hedge planting.

judith blake
Leeds City Council Leader Cllr Judith Blake

The report has been welcomed by Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council. But she expressed concerns over the timescales suggested by the Environment Agency and warned of broken promises. In a statement, Cllr Blake said:

“Another announcement about the process does indicate that we are moving in the right direction.

“However 2017 is still a long way off and we’re far from seeing anything actually happening on the ground.

“We appreciate that these things take time, but promises have been made before and we’ve been sorely let down, as we were when the government rejected funding for the 2011 Leeds scheme.

“In order for us to be able to give many concerned residents and businesses the reassurance they need, we need certainty and confidence that Leeds will get the flood defences that the city needs and deserves.

“Recent stories in the media about the south east getting £167 funding per head, compared to £97 per head for Yorkshire, only goes to demonstrate the unequal distribution of resources.

“Given that we are now some months on from the Boxing Day floods we are keen to get on with things so we will continue to push for a scheme that provides the city with a good level of defence.”

In the March budget, the Government pledged £115m extra for Yorkshire with schemes in Leeds, York and the Calder Valley.

An original £180m scheme to protect the city was scrapped years ago by the Government due to its cost.

A view of the floods on Kirkstall Road this morning. Photo: Lizzie Coombes/@bettylawless
A view of the floods on Kirkstall Road this morning. Photo: Lizzie Coombes/@bettylawless

Leeds flood appeal receives Government match funding

Leeds Community Foundation (LCF), who set up the Leeds Flood Appeal in response to the Boxing Day floods, has received confirmation that the government will match their current raised funds pound for pound.

To date, the Leeds Flood Appeal has raised an £157,000 from generous donations from the public and local businesses across the country.

With the newly announced government match scheme, the current funding will now be doubled to over £314,000 to help local residents and community groups recover from the devastating impact of the floods.

Individual grants of up £500 have provided a lifeline to households whose personal possessions and properties have been destroyed by the floods.

Community groups have been aided by the appeal. The force of the flood water devastated Burley Mill Allotment Association, destroying fencing, sheds, manure heaps and ground covers.

The beekeepers were worst affected, with almost 20 hives either swept away or badly damaged, meaning all honey was lost and bees were drowned. Their grant has allowed them to purchase a new communal shed, new hives, shared tools and manure that will benefit the allotment holders that lost all of their winter crops.

Sally-Anne Greenfield, Chief Executive of LCF, said:

“We are continuing to receive applications and hear of more individuals and community groups who have suffered due to the floods.

“Therefore, we are absolutely delighted that we have been awarded government match funding that will help us make even more of a difference. These additional funds will go back into the community to assist with flood prevention to ensure the city does not face this devastation again.”


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