Major scheme to protect homes and businesses from flooding opens
19 October 2018
A major new scheme that will protect 370 homes and 118 businesses in Skipton and the surrounding area from flooding is now open.
The Skipton flood alleviation scheme has received investment from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and West Yorkshire Combined Authority through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal - a £1 billion package of Government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.
Residents and business owners will be protected from flooding thanks to the scheme which can store a total of 130 million gallons of water, the equivalent to 230 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The Environment Agency is the lead partner and main funder of the £17.8 million scheme alongside other funders including: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), North Yorkshire County and Craven District Councils, the Yorkshire Regional Flood and Coastal Committee and Yorkshire Water.
Major structural work has been undertaken to complete the scheme which has been completed after two years. This includes the building of two flood storage reservoirs at Eller Beck and Waller Hill Beck and 300 metres of flood walls in Skipton town centre. The area has been vulnerable to heavy rainfall in the past which has put homes and businesses at risk. The new storage areas will control the flow of water after a period of extreme weather and reduce the risk of flooding to the town centre and nearby areas.
The scheme is part of a package of measures put in place by the LEP, Combined Authority and partner councils across the region following the Boxing Day floods of 2015. It follows the opening of a £50 million flood alleviation scheme in Leeds this time last year, which was also part-funded through the City Region Growth Deal, and the allocation of £5 million to help businesses in the region affected by flooding to recover, safeguarding jobs and economic growth.
Cllr Tim Swift, Deputy Chair of the LEP and Combined Authority and Leader of Calderdale Council, said: "The investment we've allocated towards the Skipton Flood Alleviation Scheme is another example of the commitment the LEP and Combined Authority are making to ensuring businesses and homes are protected from future flooding in our region. It is part of our ongoing work to ensure communities benefits from a high quality green infrastructure that can support economic areas and make our region more resilient to the effects of climate change.
"As well as providing economic resilience through protecting local businesses and safeguarding 1,600 jobs, the scheme has also paved the way for future development by unlocking 11 hectares of land which have been transformed from functional flood plains to land suitable for employment."
Cllr Wendy Hull, Chair of Craven District Council, said: "I'm delighted to see the culmination of so much hard work by all the partners involved in this scheme. Skipton has been in need of flood alleviation work for many, many years.
"It's thanks to a great deal of work by our economic development team that we were able to secure £1.5 million Growth Deal funding from the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, as well as funding from the North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
"This recognises the true economic contribution of this flood defence scheme. Not only will it protect existing homes and businesses, but it will allow the wider development of the South Skipton area, providing more land for homes, and the potential to create hundreds more jobs. This will help us to ensure that Skipton, and Craven as a whole, remains a thriving, lively place where families and young people choose to live and work. The official opening today emphasised the importance of strategic partnership working - we're all determined to ensure a thriving future for the area."
Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth Jake Berry said: "We're committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the Northern Powerhouse and building a Britain fit for the future.
"Ensuring that homes and businesses are kept safe against extreme weather conditions like flooding is central to this. The Skipton Flood Alleviation Scheme, backed by £1.5m from the Local Growth Fund, will help protect Skipton town centre from flooding while giving much needed assurance to residents."