Leeds leaders urge government to press ahead with flood defences in the city

Political and business leaders across Leeds have called for an urgent meeting to stress the importance of a second phase of flood defence work.

Thursday, 25th January 2018, 12:27 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th January 2018, 12:30 pm
Kirkstall Bridge under water in December 2015.

Headed by Leeds West MP, Rachel Reeves, they have written to the to Environment Secretary Michael Gove ahead of a meeting of the Environment Agency’s Large Project Review Group later this month.

The group is set to discuss the future of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme and whether the second phase can go ahead.

It follows a successful phase one scheme where phase two seeks to build on that work by protecting the remaining area to the west of Leeds Station and in turn reduce the risk of the city being hit by serious physical and economic flood damage to just 0.5 per cent a year, whilst also encouraging investment and creating more than 1600 jobs.

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Concerned by the potentially disastrous consequences for Leeds if the scheme does not go ahead, especially in the wake of the Boxing Day floods of 2015, Leeds MPs and representatives of Leeds City Council and the Leeds Chamber of Commerce have asked Mr Gove to meet with them to discuss the importance of the scheme in protecting Leeds from future flood damage. Ms Reeves said: “The devastating floods that hit Leeds two winters ago proved that it is vital the city has proper flood defence systems in place. This proposal would drastically reduce the risk of serious flood damage and create more than 1600 jobs at the same time.

“Leeds’ safety and prosperity are at stake, so I hope the Environment Secretary will agree to meet with us urgently to discuss these important proposals for protecting homes and businesses in Leeds.”

Also signing the letter were Hilary Benn (Leeds Central MP), Richard Burgon (Leeds East MP), Fabian Hamilton (Leeds North East), Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet and Rothwell MP), Alex Sobel (Leeds North West MP), Paula Dillon (president of Leeds Chamber of Commerce), Judith Blake (leader of Leeds City Council), Tom Riordan (chief executive of Leeds City Council).