Many of the longstanding residents of Leeds Riverside will remember Boxing Day 2015. The river Aire burst its banks; causing a huge amount of damage to both businesses and residential properties. The community effort which followed was remarkable. Volunteers helped clear the streets with Council staff and others, and residents from across Leeds provided emergency aid to those who’d lost their possessions.
Leeds City Council has invested in flood defences and prevention methods ever since, including the moveable weirs at Leeds Dock and Ferns Island, and heightened walls across the river banks in central Leeds. Despite central government’s decision to not fund the next phase of the scheme in full, the Council is still aiming to build the protection needed for a 1 in 200-year event. It is also working with partners in other authorities to create natural flood prevention methods closer to the source of the river.
However, these will only limit the risk, and will never be able to stop all weather events that could cause an unexpected river level surge. There will always be a risk. When I recently found out only one in three properties within the flood zone of the Aire in Hunslet and Riverside Ward, are registered for the government’s free flood warning alerts, I was deeply concerned.
This free-of-charge service allows residents and businesses to be alerted if there is a risk of flooding to their property. So, just in case 2015 happens again, don’t be caught off guard by the unexpected.
Register today at www.gov.uk/sign-up-for-flood-warnings
This post was written by Cllr Paul Wray
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