The footbridge at Knostrop being removed for refurbishment.
Nick Hill

£45m flood defence scheme to protect 500 Leeds city centre businesses

A £45m project to strengthen flood defences in Leeds city centre is well underway with work now starting to remove a length of the Knostrop Cut.

The river footbridge at Knostrop has been removed for refurbishment while work is now underway to take away a length of the manmade island.

This involves removing a 600 metre length of land which is approximately 48,000 cubic metres of material, which will then allow the River Aire and the Aire and Calder Navigation to be merged along this length increasing the flow of water out of the city centre during a flood event.

The flood defence scheme also features the introduction of moveable weirs, low level embankments, terracing and riverside walls designed to protect Leeds city centre from a 1-in-75-year river flood event or less.

In addition, the construction of new landscape defences such as low level embankments, terracing and riverside walls at low points along the riverbank is progressing as planned.

The Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme, which is scheduled to be completed in March 2017, is being managed by Leeds City Council and funded by the council, the Department of Environment, Flood and Agriculture (DEFRA), the Environment Agency and the Department for Business Industry and Skills.

When finished, the new flood defences will protect over 3,000 homes and 500 businesses in the city centre.

The scheme will also protect 300 acres of development land and open up key regeneration opportunities in the South Bank area. The scheme will also safeguard 22,000 indirect jobs over the next 10 years and generate 150 direct jobs and apprenticeships to work on the project.

Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said: “We are very pleased that this vital scheme to help protect our residents and businesses in Leeds is progressing well. There is lots of activity to be seen with the team now moving on to the removal of Knostrop Cut. This project is essential to help avoid the problems caused by flooding so we look forward to the level of progress continuing in the months to come.”

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