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First trees planted to protect Leeds from future flooding

The first of thousands of trees has been planted in the upper River Aire catchment area in a bid to prevent "future catastrophic floods" in Leeds.

Cllr Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, planted the first tree at a pilot site near Skipton, as part of a natural flood management scheme. About 450 saplings have been planted at Eshton Beck, a tributary of the River Aire, near Gargrave.

The trees are part of a £500,000 study investigating how natural techniques can slow the flow of water and reduce the risk of flooding downstream.

The pilot scheme follows on from the first phase of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme, a £50 million investment in flood defences to protect the city centre, Holbeck and Woodlesford.

Read coverage of the tree planting on the BBC Leeds and West Yorkshire website and see the video made by Leeds Live with interviews with Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake and Adrian Gill, flood risk manager at the Environment Agency.

Photo: Heather Magner