Leeds and Hull benefit from £226m flood defence schemes

Homes in Leeds city centre and west Hull will be better protected as a result of £226m investment into flood defence schemes, the Government announced this morning.

The Humber estuary will benefit from new flood defence programmes

A £45m flood defence scheme in Leeds, one of 207 schemes to get the green light, is estimated to save £88m by protecting peoples’ homes.

In Hull 8,000 homes will get better protection from the Willerby and Derringham flood alleviation scheme which will see a series of lagoons created along the Great Gutter valley to the west of Hull.

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The money includes the £80m for flood defences on the Humber announced yesterday, which is part of a six-year programme.

The Humber estuary will benefit from new flood defence programmes

Chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: “Investing £2.3bn to support 1,400 schemes across the country will protect 300,000 homes from the north-east to the south-west.”

However Labour denounced “Government spin” saying the spending was “simply a re-announcement of capital funding confirmed a year ago.”

Maria Eagle MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, said the Government was playing catch up on flood defence having cut over £100m a year from the flood protection budget in 2010.

She said: “The Committee on Climate on Change has already said that the Government’s plans could leave 80,000 additional properties at serious risk of flooding.

“There have been reports of a £500m black hole in these plans which the Government expect communities to meet themselves. “We need a proper long term plan for infrastructure investment including flooding which is why we have called for an Independent National Infrastructure Commission.”

The Humber cash comes from a £260m Yorkshire flood fund already previously announced but not allocated.

Thirsk MP Anne McIntosh, chair of the Environment Select Committee, also urged the Government to set out wider plans.

“We need much greater clarity about how this will be spent in Yorkshire. We do not want the full amount going into a central Environment Agency pot without reassurances of where it is spent.

“This is good news for the Humber. Now we await details of how the rest of us will benefit and if we will see money allocated in the same way.”

The port of Immingham, the UK’s largest by tonnage, was put out of action by the tidal surge for two days, causing losses estimated at £10m to £15m.

Around 27 per cent of the UK’s oil-refining capacity is provided by the Phillips 66 and Total refineries at Immingham and 20 per cent of the UK’s natural gas demand flows into Easington.

Port director John Fitzgerald said: “You look at all the money which has been invested quite rightly in terms of protecting property and the city of London with the tidal barrage and yet the Humber, which is increasingly important to UK energy needs, was shown to be exposed during the tidal surge. The point is another will come at some stage in the future and we have to defend ourselves effectively.”