Lack of mention in flood report is ‘sickening’

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It has been nine months since the devastating on Boxing Day inflicted misery on parts of the city.

Leeds was among the worst affected areas in the region after the flooding, which plunged homes and businesses underwater.

But a new Government report into last winter’s devastation barely mentions Leeds in its outline plans for £12.5m temporary defences.

Political leaders and business owners in the city have now spoken of their anger about the lack of answers in the long-awaited National Flood Resilience Review, published yesterday.

Alex Koi, who owns the Frame Game handmade picture framing business in Kirkstall, suffered thousands of pounds worth of damage when the River Aire burst its banks.

He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “For all the businesses in the area, the flooding was really bad.

“You move on but when you take stock and look around the area, the flood destroyed a lot of businesses. If it happens again, it’s going to be like a ghost town.

“They need to spend money on it but they are not going to do it. So what are we going to do?

“Leeds is a big city in the North and they’re still not doing anything. It’s sickening.”

Hundreds of volunteers helped in a massive clean-up effort in Leeds over Christmas to support those affected.

But the new 141-page report, assessing how the country could be better protected, instead focuses on a pilot project in Sheffield, which escaped last winter’s devastation.

Leader of Leeds City Council, Coun Judith Blake, said: “Leeds is barely mentioned in this report which really does smack of the government not taking the risk here seriously.

“Storm Eva caused absolute devastation for residents and businesses in Leeds, with many still recovering. The people of Leeds need the new Secretary of State to come out and confirm she will stick to the promises made to the city by her predecessor earlier this year.”

She added: “As we know to our cost there has been a severe lack of long-term planning when it comes to funding for flood defences and there is nothing in this report to offer comfort on that level.”

MPs from Leeds are set to meet the new floods minister next month to seek assurances for adequate flood defences the city.