Kirkstall Valley flood campaigner backs Leeds climate protest

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

Thousands of people are expected to gather in Millennium Square on Saturday to send a message to the world’s politicians gathered in Glasgow for the United Nations COP26 summit.

In Leeds on November 6, protestors will assemble at 12pm in Millennium Square to join the COP26 Global Day of Action.

The protest will leave Millennium Square at 1pm and march around the city centre before finishing back in the square, the event will end at 5pm.

Organisers say the one vital theme of the rally will be how resilient our communities are, and how well they are adapting to the climate breakdown that has already started.

They highlight the response to the 2015 Boxing Day floods in the Kirkstall Valley, which saw residents rally during the immediate aftermath – and a series of activities and clean-ups to try

Phil Marken, from the Kirkstall Valley Flood Cleanup, said:

“The 2015 Boxing Day floods seemed to come out of nowhere, taking the whole community by surprise.  

“It is now clear that extreme weather like that which caused the 2015 Boxing Day floods is becoming more regular.

“Whilst it is heartening to remember how the amazing community of Kirkstall pulled together and pitched in to support each other, sadly it seems like that may become a more regular occurrence as the climate crisis continues to worsen.”

Lisa Cumming, from Mytholmroyd. described the impacts that repeat flooding has on her community. She said:

“We watch the river levels like hawks here in the Calder Valley, despite all the flood alleviation works and brilliant community-led resilience efforts like Slow the Flow.

“Flood after flood takes its toll on mental health and many still suffer from anxiety every time there’s heavy rain. Knowing that climate change means more frequent and extreme weather is really scary. And of course many places around the world face the double whammy of extreme weather and extreme poverty.”

Among those speaking are Paul Chatterton, a Bramley-based academic at the University of Leeds leading research into sustainable cities and part of Climate Action Leeds.


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