Leeds MP urges government to fully fund Leeds flood prevention scheme after ‘near miss’

The Boxing Day flooding in Leeds, 2015.
The Boxing Day flooding in Leeds, 2015.
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Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves has urged the government to take action after heavy rain at the weekend sparked fears of serious flooding.

A flood warning was in place for Middle River Aire, which covers Kirkstall, Ms Reeves constituency.

Rachel Reeves, Leeds West MP.

Rachel Reeves, Leeds West MP.

On Twitter, Ms Reeves said the heavy rainfall was “all too reminiscent of the disastrous Boxing Day floods of 2015.”

In her letter, she called on Environment Secretary Michael Gove to remind Chancellor Philip Hammond of the importance of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme ahead of an upcoming Spending Review.

Phase one of the scheme – which put new defences in place in the city centre and Woodlesford – was completed in 2017.

The Government has made £65m available for the next stage of scheme, but Ms Reeves and Leeds City Council calling for extra cash to be released for additional work that will offer a one-in-200-year level of protection.

Her letter to Mr Gove read: “In the past few days, Kirkstall in my constituency and other areas were again hit by heavy rains that left many people wondering if they were on the brink of being flooded.

“It was a near miss that gave many people sleepless nights – something that they are being forced to endure repeatedly as a result of Government inaction.

“More than three years on from Storm Eva, it appears the Government is still refusing to provide Leeds with the promised level of flood protection required to keep people and businesses safe.”

Ms Reeves added in her letter: “Businesses and households in Leeds cannot afford any further delays. The absence of flood defences is literally keeping people awake at night every time there is heavy rain. That has to end.

“They should not be forced to wait until they are knee-deep in water trying to rescue their businesses or possessions before Government action and funding is forthcoming.”