YEP Says: Leeds flood defence delays are unacceptable

Flooding in Kirkstall Road.  27 December 2015.  Picture Bruce Rollinson
Flooding in Kirkstall Road. 27 December 2015. Picture Bruce Rollinson
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THEY say the wheels of justice turn slowly – but it’s nothing compared to the tortuous pace of progress in terms of providing adequate flood defences.

In Leeds a scaled-down scheme is under way which will offer a safety net for the city centre but leaves areas that bore the brunt of the Boxing Day floods woefully exposed. Environment Secretary Liz Truss initially said there was no chance of an upgrade before 2022, only for the Government to thankfully see sense.

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Yet although the Environment Agency has been tasked with carrying out a feasibility study, Miss Truss now says that this could take up to two years to complete.

Taking into account the timescales involved in terms of producing detailed designs for the measures, acquiring the necessary planning permissions and the procurement process, this could mean residents and businesses remain at risk of flooding for up to five years. That is simply not acceptable. Some firms have already gone to the wall due to the effects of Storm Eva and companies will be reluctant to invest in the city if they fear a repeat.

A sizeable amount of work was carried out for the flood defence plan put together in 2011, which the Government refused to fund.

This should now be drawn upon to speed up the process to protect the homes and businesses that were left out in the cold.

The rooftops of the terraced houses in Holbeck.

241 homes on Leeds ‘flood risk’ site approved despite almost 300 objections