A step forward for Leeds’s flood risk masterplan

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PLANS for a series of new flood defences in Leeds have been given the go-ahead.

The structures will be built at various points along the River Aire, and along Water Lane in Holbeck leading to Woodlesford, as part of the city’s ambitious overall Flood Alleviation Scheme.

Around 600m of the Knostrop Cut will also be removed, and part of the Transpennine Trail relocated, as part of the plan to merge the canal and River Aire.

The proposals were approved by Leeds City Council’s city plans panel this week.

Councillor Elizabeth Nash, who represents the City and Hunslet ward, told the meeting that she had been arguing for a Leeds flood defence scheme for 20 years, however the previous “ridiculous” and “amphitheatre”-like designs – costing an estimated £200m – had unsurprisingly been shelved by the Government.

She said the newer incarnation had been drawn up “sensitively, adding: “Residents are at last reassured that they will be protected, and not have to put up with ugly embankments outside their windows.

“Leeds had come very close to being severely flooded on at least three occasions.

“If Leeds was flooded then not only would it have affected the homes of my constituents but also it would have a detrimental effect on the rest of Leeds, most of Yorkshire and the north of England as Leeds is a key business, employment and distribution centre.”

As part of the proposals, two ancient and listed weirs are to be replaced with moveable weirs which will drop down in the event of a flood so that water can get away from Leeds.

The panel was assured this would not create problems downstream, apart from a small area in Woodlesford where wall defences are to be installed to protect 200 houses. However, there was still concern from some. Coun James Lewis said there was “a lot of nervousness” in areas like Methley and Allerton Bywater that any new works could push more flooding risk in their direction.

Headingley Hill Congregational Church on Headingley Lane. . Picture Tony Johnson.

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