Construction begins on Leeds flood defences

A major new flood defence in Leeds, which will protect hundreds of homes and businesses and safeguard the future economy, has begun construction.

Flooding at Clarence Dock Credit: Andy Karczewski

The new £50 million defences are the first of their kind for the area. In total, they will protect over 150 businesses and reduce the potential disruption caused by flooding for 3,000 city centre flats.

The scheme includes new gates to control the flow of the River Aire, removing the island between the river and the nearby canal, and building new raised defences.

Almost 19,000 jobs are estimated to be created within the protected area over the next 10 years, so the new defences will play a vital role in protecting the Yorkshire economy.

Funded by £35 million worth of government funding, together with contributions from both Leeds City Council and the private sector, this scheme is an example of the success of partnership funding in creating new defences to make the country more resilient.

Speaking at the launch of the construction, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said:

"In addition to protecting existing homes and businesses we expect to see a substantial number of new jobs created in Leeds over the next ten years so it is vital we invest in infrastructure to protect the area.