‘Flood defence cash is needed’

DEVASTATING: Leeds was badly hit by the Boxing Day floods.
DEVASTATING: Leeds was badly hit by the Boxing Day floods.
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SCHEMES COSTING £25m are needed to improve protection for homes in businesses in West Yorkshire and York following last winter’s devastating floods, according to a new report.

A review of the impact of the floods found projects costing £5m a year for the next five years could help improve flood protection while larger and longer term schemes are developed.

It put the cost of damage from the Boxing Day floods in the Leeds City Region area at more than £500m, including the £100m cost of repairing bridges, roads and Yorkshire Water facilities.

The report says: “Whilst the flooding brought no loss of life this was not due to the scale of the disaster but a combination of outstanding emergency work and timing, as the floods happened on a Bank Holiday when schools and businesses were closed and travel at a minimum such as Kirkstall Road in Leeds which was devoid of its usual 12,000 commuters.”

In the aftermath of the winter floods, the Government promised extra funding taking the total to be spent on defences in the area over the next five years to more than £200m.

The review carried out by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership suggests there are further projects which could “protect more communities, businesses and homes earlier” at a cost of £5m a year for five years.

The authors of the report warn that the “long-term costs of protecting properties at risk of flooding in the City Region will be in the hundreds of millions of pounds”.

Ian Beaumont of KPMG

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