The Environment Agency will be out and about in Leeds this week as part of an ongoing flood recovery programme following the December 2015 flooding.
Many rivers across Yorkshire reached record or near record levels on Boxing Day last year. Across Leeds, more than 2,000 homes and nearly 600 businesses were affected by flooding from the River Aire and a number of other sources after 100 mm of rain fell on the catchment.
Teams will head out into the heart of the communities in a state of the art, Incident Command Vehicle to provide support and guidance to those affected by the flooding. Importantly, it will give residents and businesses the opportunity to talk to Environment Agency staff and partners from Leeds City Council about their experiences and knowledge of the floods.
Jonathan Follows from the Environment Agency said:
We hope that by taking our incident command vehicle into the communities it will provide a more accessible way for people to come along and talk to us. During the first two stops we’re hoping to speak to the businesses in the Stourton and Hunslet areas who were affected by the flooding. Towards the end of the day we’ll move into the residential area where we’ll also have a team of staff door knocking. We’re really keen to hear about people’s experiences and get feedback on our flood extent maps.
It will also be a chance for us to let residents and businesses know about the recovery work we’ve been doing in Leeds and what we’ve got planned over the coming months to reduce flood risk.
Crucially, we hope to sign more people up for our free flood warning service. There is still only 19 per cent of eligible properties taking advantage of this free service with just over 101,000 properties signed up out of a potential 530,000 in Yorkshire. For the flood warning area covering Knowsthorpe, Thwaite Gate and Stourton there are only 185 properties signed up out of a total of 451 – that’s less that 50 per cent.
Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake said:
We are very pleased to be working with the Environment Agency bringing their floods roadshow to Leeds. We are all well aware of the devastation the floods at Christmas caused in Leeds and sadly there are many businesses and residents still suffering as a result, so I would encourage as many people as possible to engage with the team to share their experiences and find out the latest information on ways people can help defend against the impact of flooding. As a city we are determined to continue our calls for Leeds to have comprehensive flood defences in place as quickly as possible.
On Thursday 28 July, the incident command vehicle will be in Haigh Park, Stourton, between 1pm and 2.30pm; it will be at Hunslet Industrial Park from 2.30pm to 4pm; and it will be in the Aire Quays/Twine Street area between 4pm and 6.30pm.
Over the next 18-24 months feasibility work will be completed to explore options for improving flood protection for Leeds, and to finalise the details of the scheme.
A full business case will be completed to establish the appropriate standard of protection for Leeds, the measures needed to achieve this, how much it will cost and how long it will take to deliver.
Following approval of the business case a construction contract will be awarded by the end of 2017.
Residents and businesses can check to see if free flood warnings are available in their community and sign up by calling Floodline on 0345 9881188 or by visiting the website.
As well as checking flood risk, residents can also find out what action can be taken to protect people and property by visiting the Environment Agency’s flood pages.