£45m Leeds flooding defence work set to be signed off

A man carries a woman through the flood waters in city centre, Leeds. 25th June  2007
A man carries a woman through the flood waters in city centre, Leeds. 25th June 2007
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LEEDS decision-makers are set to sign off £45m of flood defence work in the city, as a “use it or lose it” deadline for Government funding approaches.

The council’s executive board will tomorrow approve the release of the funding - made up of a mixture of Government grants plus £10m from the council - to kickstart the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme (LFAS) proper.

Initial mitigation work has already started in Woodlesford, which is at particular risk.

The main flood defence works within the city centre will follow “soon after”, a new council report says.

“The immediate progression of the LFAS is critical to ensure that the scheme can be delivered within the funding time constraints,” the report says.

“The scheme remains vitally important for the city, not just because of the threat to lives and property, but also because of the long-term reputational damage a major flood would have on the attractiveness and economic performance of the city.”

There are currently no formal flood defences along the River Aire.

In 2000, the city centre was just inches away from flooding, with more near misses in 2004, 2007 and 2008.

Environment Agency estimates said that over 3,500 properties are at potential risk and a major flood from the River Aire would cost the city £400m. An initial Environment Agency scheme was abandoned in 2011. The alternative scheme has been developed by the council, and initial estimated costs have fallen from £76m.

The report adds: “Since the abandonment of the original 1 in 200 year Environment Agency scheme in 2011, on cost grounds, there has been rapid progress of this alternative scheme in terms of assembling the financial package, developing the detailed design proposals and driving down costs.”

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