Phase two for the Leeds Flood Alleviation scheme were sent off this week to help protect the town from further devastation.
By Henry Whitaker and Oliver Wood.
On Boxing day 2015, Kirkstall experienced some of the highest levels of flooding ever recorded. Over 3000 properties were damaged, including 672 businesses.
The damage has had a long lasting effect with company ThyssenKrupp Woodhead Ltd closing down due to the risk of further flooding.
Following this, the government made plans to keep Leeds’ head above water. Phase one of plan dedicated £50 million in 2015 to increase protection around the area.
The plans for phase two of the scheme have accelerated the project with £112 million being dedicated to the stretch of land running by the River Aire.
There is a focus on natural flood management methods such as creating new woodlands with hundreds of thousands of trees and the restoration of flood plains.
Kirkstall firefighter Petter Ellison was involved during the 2015 floods and is happy that work is being done to protect residents and businesses:
“Since the floods, the information centre was implemented which has been good and the Kirkstall community has pulled together to help each other and I would say we are better equipped to deal with flooding now”
He added: “that’s not to say that we don’t feel more could and should be done and we hope that phase two of the flood plan happens and gives us the necessary support.”
Speaking to Gov.uk. the leader for Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake believes the scheme will help calm the nerves that a storm could could cause such damage again:
“If it is approved it would mean we can get on with starting the work we can carry out now, which is vital to provide our residents and businesses with reassurance and confidence as we come up on three years since the devastation caused by the impact of Storm Eva.”
As Christmas approaches, the residents of Kirkstall will be hoping the nightmare of 2015 does not repeat.