A major new flood defence in Leeds, which will protect hundreds of homes and businesses and safeguard the future economy, has begun construction.
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:
Creating jobs and getting people into employment are central to building a stronger, more resilient economy.
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.
We are spending more than ever before to protect our economy from the risk of flooding and this new defence will do exactly that.
This project has come into effect thanks to contributions from central government, together with partnership funding contributions from Leeds City Council and the private sector.
Early indications from new independent research into partnership funding for flood defence schemes show up to a quarter (25 per cent) more schemes will go ahead in the coming years than if project costs were met by central government alone.
Across the country, 55 flood defence schemes will begin construction this year, better protecting 43,000 properties.
The government is spending £3.2billion on flood management and protection from coastal erosion over the course of this parliament.
That is more than ever before and the record investment will continue. By the end of the decade, at least 465,000 households will be better protected from the risk of flooding.