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Leeds City Council

Flood Alleviation Scheme

Leeds has a major river, the River Aire, flowing through the city centre which can cause fluvial flooding. In addition, extreme rainfall can cause surface water flooding across the city. Leeds is the largest UK city without flood defence infrastructure and has experienced regular, large scale floods with several severe events since 2000. The economic and social impacts can be severe.

The Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme is a €53m project designed to reduce the risk of flooding in the centre of Leeds by delivering 1:100 protection (see image above of Council Leader Councillor Judith Blake with BAM Muttall project manager Andy Judson at Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme). The project is focused on a moveable weir that regulates the flow of water along the River Aire. It is one of the largest flood alleviation scheme in the UK; however, the December 2015 floods would still have occurred even if it had been completed. 

There is a desire to couple this investment with upstream natural flood hazard management with sustainable urban drainage and green infrastructure in a twin track approach. This will spread the benefits of flood protection beyond the city centre, and address the cause of the flooding: poor catchment management and water storage upstream of the city.

See a fly-through of the flood alleviation scheme and an animation of the moveable weir in the videos below.