New woodlands for Leeds flood defence scheme wins support

PROPOSALS to plant hundreds of thousands of trees along the River Aire catchment to help protect Leeds against the future of threat of flooding have won cross party support.

Coun  Lucinda Yeadon
Coun Lucinda Yeadon

Senior councillors on Leeds City Council’s executive board welcomed plans to plant woodlands and create floodwater storage areas as part of the second phase of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme.

Work on the £50m first phase of the scheme is set to be completed next month.

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It includes state-of-the-art new flood protection for the city centre, Holbeck and downstream at Woodlesford in a bid to cut the risk of a repeat of the devastating Christmas 2015 floods in Leeds.

Flooding in Kirkstall Road. 27 December 2015. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Phase two plans further upstream include creating new woodland areas by planting hundreds of thousands of tree saplings and constructing flood water stores with control gates.

Executive board members agreed that a business case be put to the Government to invest an initial £3.4m in advanced works including tree planting, vegetation and channel clearance between Rodley and Leeds Rail Station.

Deputy council leader Coun Lucinda Yeadon, (Lab/Kirkstall) said: “I welcome the whole catchment approach in this. I know many businesses in my ward who were greatly affected a see every winter as another threat and the sooner we can bring a scheme forward the better. Conservative Group leader Coun Andrew Carter, said: “We will happily support any bid to Government based on this whole catchment area approach.”

Flooding in Kirkstall Road. 27 December 2015. Picture Bruce Rollinson