£76m contract for next phase of Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme

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The next phase of work on the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme has been confirmed after Leeds City Council and BMMjv sign a £76m contract

Leeds City Council has agreed on a contract worth £75.98m with contractor BMMjv, a joint venture between BAM Nuttall and Mott MacDonald, to carry out the first step of the two-step approach to the next phase of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme. This follows planning approval which was granted earlier this month.

The announcement is a significant milestone as it confirms work will start on the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme, likely to be before the end of the year, for the range of works along the River Aire.

The Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme, being managed by Leeds City Council and the Environment Agency, will see linear defences provided along the 8-kilometre stretch upstream of Leeds Station.

It will focus on three key areas – Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, Kirkstall Abbey and Kirkstall Meadows:

  • At Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, the defence works include new protective walls, a new higher bridge to improve water flow and two new control structures on the goit which can close when the river levels become too high.
  • A new structure will be built at Kirkstall Abbey in front of Kirkabbey Sluice Gates which will limit the amount of water during high river levels going down the goit channel. The structure will also be a walkway that could open up new views.
  • The proposal at Kirkstall Meadows is to transform 2.4 hectares into a wetland habitat and also feature kingfisher banks, otter holts and wetland scrapes for fish. A new flood embankment will reduce flood risk to the adjacent railway line.

This work will be supported by a flagship Natural Flood Management programme delivered by the Environment Agency. It will work with partners and landowners to deliver a range of measures, such as the creation of new woodland, woody debris dams and wetland areas, which can slow the flow of rainwater into the river, helping to reduce the risk of flooding and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Additional planning approvals will be sought from the relevant authorities as the catchment-wide programme develops.

This first step of work can proceed using the funding already in place from the government, Leeds City Council and other stakeholders.

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor, Judith Blake, said: “This is a hugely important milestone for Leeds, as it commits us to getting this vital work done and hopefully underlines our commitment to doing everything to can to make our residents and businesses safe from the risk of flooding as soon as possible.

“We look forward to seeing work starting later this year, and we continue to explore every option in order to get the whole scheme completed in full as that is absolutely essential for the future of our city and all the communities who remain vulnerable to the risk of flooding.”

Flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, Adrian Gill said: “I’m really pleased that our joint project team has achieved this milestone. We are now able to begin work on the ground at pace making best use of the funds we have available.

“Our ambition is still to complete both steps of this second phase of the scheme. The first step will provide much better protection from the River Aire upstream of Leeds station through the Kirkstall area and out to Newlay.

“We are looking forward to this next stage of delivery and being able to share the detailed design of the proposed scheme with the residents, businesses and the wider community.”

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