Multi-million pound boost for region’s flood defences

A £5.6m flood defence fund to help protect West Yorkshire’s communities and businesses from extreme weather has been signed off by regional leaders.

The investment will be used to refurbish a flood channel in Leeds, redirect floodwater away from businesses and into the River Holme in Huddersfield, and create new areas of wetland to slow the flow of water and help protect homes and businesses in Brighouse.

The proposals were agreed at a meeting of the regional Climate, Energy and Environment Committee and will bolster a wider £22m flood alleviation effort unveiled by West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin last December.

It is estimated that 37,000 homes and 15,000 businesses in West Yorkshire are in a flood zone.

During the Boxing Day floods of 2015, around 6,000 homes and businesses were damaged, costing the regional economy an estimated half-a-billion pounds.

Brabin said: “With the Earth hitting that all-important 1.5 degree tipping point, we know that one in a hundred year floods will become more common.

“So it’s vital we step up our support for businesses and communities – some of which are still reeling from the devastating Boxing Day floods of 2015.

“While we cannot eradicate extreme weather completely, we can still make a huge difference with the right local support, as we build a greener, more vibrant West Yorkshire.”

Councillor Scott Patient, Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for climate action, active travel and housing, said: “Flooding is a real concern across West Yorkshire, and this latest round of support will alleviate that ongoing threat and help to ensure that our region is fit for the future.

“We know the devastation that flooding causes so it’s vital measures are put in place to help to protect vulnerable communities and businesses as extreme weather becomes more frequent.

“Together, with partners, we remain committed to building a greener, brighter West Yorkshire that is resilient to the effects of climate change.”

The approved flooding schemes are:

  • Albert Street Flood Alleviation Scheme, Huddersfield – £526,176
  • Sheepscar Beck Refurbishment Scheme, Leeds – £620,104
  • Brighouse Flood Alleviation Scheme, Brighouse – £4,499,000

A further £966,000 to slow the flow of water through natural flood measures in Leeds and Bradford was also approved in December.