Government urged to back multi-million-pound package of flood defence schemes for Leeds City Region

Ministers urged to commit £141 million to fund Flood Alleviation to Unlock Economic Growth Programme which would protect more than 3,000 business, 5,000 homes and 32,000 jobs

The Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority has called on the Government to commit £141 million to support new flood defence works to protect thousands of homes and businesses as well as vital infrastructure across Leeds City Region.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe has written to ministers ahead of Wednesday’s Spending Review asking for financial backing for the Flood Alleviation to Unlock Economic Growth Programme.

It follows on the first phase of the Flood Alleviation to Unlock Economic Growth Programme which supported schemes providing enhanced flood protection for communities in the City Region following the devastation caused by the Boxing Day Floods in 2015.

The programme, which would begin in 2021, would safeguard approximately 3,300 businesses, 5,300 homes and more than 32,000 jobs.

Furthermore, it would unlock development land which could provide 7,500 new homes and create 525 new jobs adding an estimated £100 million to the City Region economy over the next ten years.

It would also deliver environmental benefits including saving carbon emissions equating to taking 236 cars off the road every year.

The programme involves a number of major projects including flood alleviation schemes in Tadcaster, Keighley and Hebden Bridge.

If successful, £135 million would be invested in 29 flood resilience schemes worth a total capital value of £282 million in the City Region.

The rest of the funding would be invested in a £6 million natural flood management programme.

The submission sent to the Treasury and DEFRA, states “Leeds City Region is at a unique stage in its development with a series of key infrastructure investments coming forward in the future e.g. HS2, NPR and Housing Infrastructure Fund.

“It is critical that this investment is resilient and safeguarded. The City Region has a strong track record of delivering innovative and complex flood resilience management schemes on budget.”