Great Britain

Call for Government to help fund flood prevention schemes in West Yorkshire

LOCAL authorities have urged the government to invest heavily in flood risk management across West Yorkshire.

Westminster has been asked for a whopping £120m to tackle flooding in the county - with £21m needed now for what have been dubbed four "shovel ready" projects that could begin within two years.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said flood resilience work needed to be accelerated.

On behalf of WYCA - a group of leading councillors and officers from West Yorkshire councils, plus York, that works on major infrastructure projects - she called on the government to deliver on its commitment to hold a summit on flooding for the whole of Yorkshire.

Working with partner councils in Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Calderdale, Kirklees and York as well as the Environment Agency, WYCA has developed 30 flood risk management schemes and what has been called a "comprehensive" £15m natural flood management programme to protect towns and communities vulnerable to flooding in the Leeds City Region.

Storm Christoph: Flooding at Shipley, Cottingley and Saltaire

It says £120m will support the delivery of these ambitious initiatives over the next six years, which in turn will safeguard approximately 3,400 homes, 2,500 businesses and 4,600 existing jobs.

Clr Hinchcliffe, who is also leader of Bradford City Council, said: "We know from our own experiences and from events across the UK that flooding which was once considered exceptional is happening more frequently and severely.

"We need to accelerate our ongoing flood resilience work to protect our local communities against future extreme weather events.

"We are asking Government for funding to support the infrastructure the region needs to tackle climate change and support our economic recovery in a way that improves standards of living for all our communities, and safeguards homes, businesses, and jobs.

"We have identified four ‘shovel ready’ flood management projects that could commence as early as December 2022, if £21.6m of government funding was secured, and would create rapid and positive change to our local communities."

WYCA is also calling for a single joined-up discussion with all partners involved in flood resilience at a Yorkshire level including representatives of government, MPs, council leaders, the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and the Yorkshire Regional Flood and Coastal Committee.

The so-called ‘Shovel Ready’ Flood Management Projects are:

Brighouse Flood Alleviation Scheme, Phase 1 (fluvial): To better protect transport links and key diversionary routes relating to the M62 and accelerate future developments, including Clifton Business Park Enterprise Zone.

Calderdale Reservoir Storage: Envisaged to protect 180 existing businesses. The scheme involves storage capacity for future flooding events, potentially delivered in partnership with Yorkshire Water.

Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme Phase 2, Step 2: To provide protection to existing homes and businesses from a repeat of the Boxing Day 2015 floods, between Leeds rail station to Apperley Bridge, through measures including a moveable weir and flood defence walls in Apperley Bridge.

Wortley Beck Improvements: To provide flood protection to regeneration areas and existing homes, and businesses. Communities expected to benefit from this scheme are in vulnerable and deprived neighbourhoods.

Since the 2015 floods WYCA has invested £20m from the Leeds City Region Growth Deal, alongside over £170m of partner funding, into flood alleviation schemes across the region.

To date more than £17m has been awarded to eight projects with a total value of £195m, including Skipton, Mytholmroyd and Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme (FAS) 1, alongside the Wyke Beck Flood Alleviation Scheme, and natural flood management projects in the Colne, Calder and Upper Aire catchment areas.

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