WORK has started on the latest phase of a £45m project designed to protect homes and businesses in Leeds from the ravages of flooding.
The Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme will stretch along the River Aire from the city centre and Holbeck as far as Thwaite Mills in Stourton.
One of the largest projects of its kind in the country, it will offer protection to more than 3,000 homes and 500 businesses as well as 300 acres of development land when it is completed in 2017.
The scheme will see the installation of moveable weirs at Crown Point and Knostrop. A man-made island at Knostrop Cut will also be removed to merge the Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, helping the flow of water during flood conditions.
The work is being funded by Leeds City Council, the Environment Agency, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Coun Richard Lewis, the council’s executive member for transport and the economy, said: “Not only will these defence measures protect people’s homes and businesses but also protect key employment sites, safeguard jobs and support regeneration, all of which is central to building a stronger, more resilient economy.
“It will also give much-needed protection to key transport infrastructure and access routes that we rely on to keep the city moving.
“By using cutting edge flood defence technology and working with industry experts, we can provide sound flood defence for the city that is good value for money as well as good quality.”
The initial phase of work was carried out last year to defend properties in Woodlesford from flooding by the Aire. Hundreds of homes in Leeds suffered flooding in 2007. Traffic chaos also gripped the city centre after the Aire burst its banks near Crown Point Bridge the following year.