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Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme

Key Facts

  • Client: Leeds City Council
  • Value: £23m
  • Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire

Provision of flood protection for the River Aire designed to protect against a 1:75 year flood event.

Provision of flood protection for the River Aire designed to protect against a 1:75 year flood event.

Works include:

  • Knostrop Weir – removal of existing fixed structure and installing movable weir, fish pass and turbine sluice
  • Crown Point Weir – removal of existing fixed structure and installing movable weir and fish pass
  • Knostrop Cut – removal of island to merge canal and river and re-profiling of river to create navigable channel with a greater water holding capacity
  • Providing linear defences at low lying locations (embankments, terracing, walls etc) throughout the city and Holbeck

Over recent years there have been a number of ‘near miss’ flooding events along the River Aire through the city centre of Leeds in West Yorkshire. Whilst major damage to infrastructure has been avoided, the flooding has caused significant disruption to major transport hubs, main road networks have been blocked and residents evacuated from waterfront properties. These events have led to sizeable economic losses to the regional economy.

Presently there are no purpose built flood defences along the River Aire in Leeds to provide protection to businesses, homes, transportation networks and other critical infrastructure.

The work is being delivered by BAM Nuttall Mott MacDonald Joint Venture (BMMJV), and includes the construction of two movable weirs capable of lowering river levels during flood conditions.

The use of movable weirs will place Leeds at the forefront of national flood defence schemes, as the project is a UK first for flood alleviation. The adjustable weirs can regulate water flow by inflating or deflating air bags anchored to the river bed. Being able to drop the weirs will mean the height of water in Leeds itself can be controlled by letting more water through when required.

A storage site near the quayside enables the team to dry out the excavated material before transporting it to act as fill at a development site on the outskirts of Leeds

We also held a Bring Your Daughter to Work Day, which saw 17 girls aged between 11-18 brought to site by their parent or guardian. Many activities took place throughout the event, including bricklaying and a tour of the works on the River Aire, along with sessions explaining what different roles do, with the girls getting to give these roles a go in pretend scenarios. Information was provided throughout the day about routes on getting into construction, with all of the daughters going away with a greater understanding of what we do and where there might be a place for them within engineering.