Work at Aire Valley defences continues

Construction work has started this week on the £112m second phase of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme.

BMMjv a joint venture between BAM Nuttall and Mott MacDonald, is designing and constructing the scheme.

The second phase of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme will see flood defences being built on the River Aire upstream of Leeds railway station. The defences combine walls, embankments and a flood storage area.

The first step of phase two, at a cost of £87m, will give protection against a one-in 100 chance of flooding in any given year along an 8km stretch upstream of Leeds station including three key areas – Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, Kirkstall Abbey and Kirkstall Meadows. These works are expected to be complete by winter 2022.

The second stage involves creating flood storage a Calverley, making use of an existing flood plain, and works at Apperley Bridge, to bring the level of protection up to a one-in-200 chance of flooding in any given year, equivalent to the Boxing Day floods that hit Kirkstall in December 2015.

This week works have started in the Wellington Bridge Street area upstream of the city centre, on a flood defence wall running along the River Aire.

Adrian Gill, area flood risk manager at the Environment Agency said: “Our joint project team is delighted to have achieved this significant milestone of starting construction on flood risk alleviation works in an area which was impacted by the floods of December 2015. Our shared ambition is to complete both steps of this second phase of the scheme. This first step will provide much better protection from the River Aire upstream of Leeds station through the Kirkstall area and out to Newley.

“The natural flood management measures that will be delivered across the catchment upstream as part of the first step will not only help reduce flood risk but also restore and create new habitat, increase biodiversity resilience and improve water quality. This will contribute to delivering the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and realising the vision of the Northern Forest in the Aire catchment”.

The project also incorporates a natural flood management (NFM) programme, working with partners across the catchment to create new woodland and other natural features to help reduce the flow of rainwater in the River Aire.

The phase two work follows completion of the £50m first phase of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme in October 2017, where flood defences were installed along the River Aire in Leeds for the first time.

Advanced works have also been completed to deliver parts of the phase two scheme early. These include a 730 metre long flood wall in Stourton, completed in September 2018.