leeds’s council leader has today pledged to keep making the “strongest possible case” for better flood defences for Leeds.
Councillor Judith Blake was speaking as the £50m first phase of Leeds’s flood defence masterplan nears completion.
Work on the second vital phase could get under way by next summer, but is dependent on a concrete business case being submitted to the Government by the Autumn - and winning approval and funding.
The first phase of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme is one of the largest river flood defence schemes in the country.
It will provide the city centre, including more than 3,000 homes and 500 businesses, with protection against flooding from the River Aire and Hol Beck. It is also hoped it will protect 300 acres of development land, and that more than 22,000 jobs will be safeguarded over the next 10 years from the increased level of protection.
Councillor Blake said: “The value of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme in terms of the reassurance it will offer residents and businesses over the coming years and decades is incalculable, so we very much look forward to seeing phase one complete later this year, while we continue to make the strongest possible case for further significant measures to help protect all our communities threatened by flood-risk across the city as soon as possible.”
Phase Two is now at initial design stages and work to develop a full business case, which will establish the appropriate standard of protection, what it will cost and how long it will take to is now progressing.
If all goes as planned, a construction contract could be awarded in summer 2018, the council says.
The specifics of Phase Two of the scheme are unknown, but one key focus will be on reducing the risk of River Aire flooding in areas such as Kirkstall and Stourton, which were heavily damaged in 2015.