Commit to £140m flood protection in Leeds City Region, Government told

The River Calder in Hebden BridgeThe River Calder in Hebden Bridge
The River Calder in Hebden Bridge
regional leader 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

Chairwoman of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, has written to ministers ahead of tomorrow’s Spending Review asking for financial backing for the Flood Alleviation to Unlock Economic Growth Programme.

It follows the first phase of the programme, which supported schemes providing enhanced flood protection for communities in the Leeds City Region following the devastation caused by the Boxing Day Floods in 2015.

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Large parts of Calderdale and the Kirkstall Road area of Leeds suffered flooding after downpours in the days after Christmas that year.

WYCA estimates that the programme, which would begin in 2021, would protect around 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, argues the body.

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

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If successful, £135 million would be invested in 29 such schemes worth a total capital value of £282 million.

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

In her submission sent to the Treasury and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Coun Hinchliffe said: “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 [Northern Powerhouse Rail] 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.”