Leeds flood victims still suffering as Storm Eva anniversary looms

Flooding in the Kirkstall area of Leeds
Flooding in the Kirkstall area of Leeds
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LEEDS City Council’s leader has said it is “vital” the local authority continues to press for comprehensive flood measures as the anniversary of the devastating Storm Eva approaches.

Senior councillors at next Wednesday’s executive board meeting will discuss an updated report on work carried out in response to the Boxing Day flooding caused by Storm Eva.

The board will also be asked to formally close the dedicated recovery phase of the work the council has carried out, with any ongoing work to be done as part of day-to-day council services and support.

Coun Blake said: “As we near the one-year anniversary of the awful impact of Storm Eva on our city and region, it is important to look back and reflect on what happened, what we can learn from it and also how the city needs to keep working together to do everything we can to make sure it is never repeated.

“The response from the people of Leeds in terms of residents, businesses and community groups helping out working alongside the council and other agencies continues to be fantastic.

“We know some of our residents and businesses are still suffering almost 12 months on, and that is why it is vital we continue to offer support and to press for comprehensive flood measures to be put in place as soon as possible.”

Councillors will consider the review of the actions taken since Boxing Day including lessons learned and how the council’s response systems could be improved.

In Leeds, 3,368 properties were impacted by the floods, with 298 residential properties and 371 commercial properties internally flooded.

An estimated £9m damage was caused to Leeds City Council owned infrastructure, with the most significant damage to Linton Bridge near Wetherby. The government has contributed £4.5m towards infrastructure repair costs.

The council has given financial support worth over £1m to more than 700 residential properties to help with recovery and also improving future flood resilience and council tax relief.

All of the residents affected have been able to return to their homes except for seven families who are continuing to receive support.

For more than 250 affected businesses, the council and the regional Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have offered more than £3m of assistance and guidance including business support, business rate relief and property resilience grants.

The council is working closely with the Environment Agency on cleaning up the River Aire, while the first phase of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme on the river in the city centre is due for completion in late spring 2017.

Planning work is continuing on the next phase, including measures for the Kirkstall corridor which was badly hit by flooding.

A flood barrier scheme is being designed for Mickletown and other measures are being explored for Methley. On the River Wharfe, the council is working with the Environment Agency and local stakeholders to carry out a study on the catchment with a focus on Otley and nearby communities flooded on Boxing Day.