Flood management schemes backed by West Yorkshire Combined Authority

Flood management schemes backed by West Yorkshire Combined Authority

Two flood alleviation schemes backed by West Yorkshire Combined Authority's Investment Committee, at their meeting Wednesday 3 January, will help reduce the risk of flooding for hundreds of homes and businesses across Leeds City Region, protect land for new development and provide a refuge for endangered animals.

The Natural Flood Management Programme and Wyke Beck Valley Project will be developed with partners to safeguard key areas of land by the River Aire, River Calder and River Colne as well as housing and brownfield sites across east Leeds.

The future of a number of vulnerable habitats will also be secured, helping to protect the native white clawed crayfish breeding population, six species of bat and a number of birds on the red and amber list of Birds of Conservation Concern, which have all been spotted in the supported areas."

West Yorkshire Combined Authority committed to invest a total of £20m into flood alleviation projects across the City Region following the Boxing Day floods of 2015. This is in addition to its £5m Business Flood Recovery Fund, which launched just weeks after floods hit to support SMEs affected by flooding to get back on their feet.

£4.5m Leeds City Region Natural Flood Management Programme

Leeds City Region Natural Flood Management Programme will introduce a range of practical measures to mimic natural flood protection. They will look to slow the flow of water in the Upper Aire Catchment, Wessenden Valley, in Kirklees, Gorpley Reservoir and Hardcastle Crags, in Calderdale.

As well as providing long-term benefits for urban centres downstream - including reducing the risk of flooding to more than 1,000 homes and 200 business units - the programme will also increase biodiversity and boost local recreation and tourism schemes.

The programme is being developed by the White Rose Forest Partnership in close co-ordination with local authorities, the Environment Agency and the Aire and Calder Catchment Partnership. Yorkshire Water, National Trust, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, The Source partnership and the Woodland Trust are all playing leading roles in design and delivery planning.

The Combined Authority's investment will eventually top £1.7m with other funders including Moorlife 2020.

£4.17m Wyke Beck Valley Project

Also backed by the Investment Committee, this scheme will focus works on related sites in the Wyke Beck Valley in east Leeds, namely Killingbeck Meadows, Arthur's Rein and Halton Moor. New embankments and flood storage areas will be created to help reduce the risk of flooding to 60 homes in the Dunhill Estate and make possible the development of 200 homes by 2025 on brownfield sites in east Leeds.

The project is being led by Leeds City Council in partnership with the Environment Agency. Combined Authority investment will eventually reach £2.6m.

Cllr Peter Box, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Investment Committee, said: £As we've seen in our region in recent years, flooding can have a devastating impact on our economy and people's lives. By progressing the flood alleviation schemes, West Yorkshire Combined Authority can help reduce the risk of flooding to existing homes and businesses while also supporting the development of land for new homes and businesses and improving habitats that wildlife and local people can all enjoy."

Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said: "The 2015 Boxing Day floods showed just how critical it is that businesses have protection from flooding if jobs are to be created and safeguarded and our economy is to flourish. Through partnership working among the LEP, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and local councils, we have been able to help flood-affected firms get back on their feet, and this funding backed by the Combined Authority will do even more to protect homes and businesses currently under threat while also opening new areas of land for development and regeneration."

Adrian Gill, Area Flood and Coastal Risk Manager at the Environment Agency, said: "We have worked in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and a broad range of partners to develop the £20m of investment to reduce flood risk. The backing for these two initiatives really shows what can be achieved by working together, providing not only increased resilience to flood risk, but also a better quality of life through improved public spaces and catchment management."