Rodley Nature Reserve in Leeds 'no longer pursued' for flood defence scheme

Volunteers at Rodley Nature Reserve in 2015. Picture: Tony Johnson.
Volunteers at Rodley Nature Reserve in 2015. Picture: Tony Johnson.
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A much-loved nature reserve in Leeds has been axed from a list of options that could form part of the city’s future flood defences.

The Environment Agency has revealed that Rodley Nature Reserve is no longer being considered among sites proposed to be used as an upstream water storage area.

Trustees from the reserve say the move will help them “safeguard the reserve” as a refuge for wildlife for years to come.#

The announcement comes after political and business leaders across Leeds yesterday called for an urgent meeting to stress the importance of a second phase of work on Leeds’ Flood Alleviation Scheme.

It follows a successful first phase of the scheme and would see work to protect the remaining area to the west of Leeds railway station. Plans for upstream water storage areas, under the scheme, are now being assessed but Rodley Nature Reserve will no longer be pursued as an option after being identified during an earlier stage.

In a statement, trustees of Rodley Nature Reserve Trust Limited, which runs the reserve, said: “The Trustees of Rodley Nature Reserve are very pleased that the reserve is no longer being considered for use as a flood water storage area.

“This helps to safeguard the reserve as a refuge for wildlife and as a great community asset.

“We would like to put on record our appreciation of the very professional way that the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme team has worked with the trustees of the reserve to produce a good resolution to this issue.”

The storage areas are operated by a control gate system, which means water can be held and then released back into the river when it is safe to do so.

The business case for phase two is now being finalised and, if approved by Government, work will start in early 2019.

Celtic's Tom Rogic. PIC: PA

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