£50 million flood defence scheme opens in Leeds

A new £50 million flood alleviation scheme, which uses moveable weir technology, has opened in Leeds.

Led by Leeds City Council and the Environment Agency, the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme, one of the largest river flood alleviation schemes in the country, uses state-of-the-art flood defence engineering techniques, with the weir technology a first for flood risk reduction in the UK.

Protecting against flooding from the River Aire and Hol Beck, the scheme comprises of state-of-the-art mechanical weirs, the merging of the river and canal and flood walls and embankments stretching 4.5 km through the city centre.

It is the first time that moveable weirs have been used in the UK for flood alleviation purposes. The new weir gates are supported by giant inflatable neoprene bladders that can be lowered when high river flows are expected. It takes around two hours for the gates to lower, and thanks to the installation of these weir gates, it has been possible to keep flood defence wall heights to a minimum so as not to spoil views of the city centre waterfront.

Floods minister Thérèse Coffey said: "No-one can forget the devastating flooding residents and businesses in Leeds faced nearly two years ago. We know how distressing flooding is for all those affected and I’m delighted that through this new state-of-the art £50 million scheme thousands more people living and working in Leeds will be better protected. Our commitment to strengthening flood defences across Yorkshire doesn’t stop here – we are investing £430 million over six years up until 2021 to better protect the region using the best technology and engineering available.”

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