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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have to say, I share the Civic Trust's concern about how this could be terrible for the riverside. Much more innovative approaches need looking at.

Why not look at what York has done? At Clifton Ings there is a large floodplain that is allowed to flood if a flood is likely. It holds back a lot of the surplus water from the city which is then gradually released when the river goes down. Leeds could set aside a large floodplain in Kirkstall Valley.

I am much more in favour of a relief waterway running south of the Aire. If this was in a deep channel, it's capacity could be increase significantly when needed too. With a flood barrier somewhere near City Island, surplus water could be directed along a new waterway and away from the central riverside.

http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/Video-Leeds-flood-defence-plans.5462270.jp
Video: Leeds flood defence plans 'could damage city'

16 July 2009
Debbie Leigh

Flood defence proposals for Leeds are unacceptable and will damage the appeal of the waterfront, says the city's heritage watchdog.
Leeds Civic Trust is objecting to £100m plans drawn up by Leeds City Council and the Environment Agency, which include 2.6m high barriers.

It is calling for a more innovative approach and backing ideas suggested by urban design experts Arup, Leeds, such as creating a flood alleviation channel which would remove the need for huge walls along the waterside.

Trust director Kevin Grady said: "The high barriers close to the waterside would radically affect the character of the waterfront and negate much of the hard work and multi-million pound investment which has turned the city's waterfront from a derelict, polluted backwater into a highly accessible major recreational asset."

In a letter to the Environment Agency on the proposals, he said the changes would be "highly detrimental to the amenity, accessibility and appeal of the waterfront".

The plans aim to protect the city against a one-in-200-year flood which would hit 3,700 homes.

Under the planned scheme, a range of defences would be installed along a 19km stretch of the River Aire, from downstream of Kirkstall Abbey to Woodlesford.

The Leeds (River Aire) Flood Alleviation Scheme includes walls varying from 1m to 2.6m high and has been slammed by waterfront residents horrified by the impact on their homes.

Dr Grady said: "Cost-saving rather than quality is driving these proposals."

Arup, Leeds, suggests creating a flood alleviation channel; modifying weirs; merging the two channels of the River Aire and Aire and Calder Navigation below Knostrop by removing the island; and upstream storage.

The measures would reduce floodwater by up to 1.2 metres. This would mean smaller barriers were unnecessary and reduce the others to a level people could see over.

The proposed defences are aimed at tackling the effects of climate change over the next 30 to 40 years.

Next month the Environment Agency team will finalise its proposals and in October present them to the agency's National Review Group.

If endorsed it will go to DEFRA and the Treasury for funding approval.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_yorkshire/8151435.stm
Trust attacks flood defence plans


Plans for flood barriers up to six feet high in the centre of Leeds could have a detrimental effect on the rejuvenated waterfront, a community group has said.

In a letter to the Environment Agency, Leeds Civic Trust said current proposals would cut people off both physically and visually from the water.

The trust said that lower barriers and a flood alleviation channel would be more sensitive to the surroundings.

The Environment Agency stressed the defences would be unobtrusive.

The agency has said the risk of flooding in Leeds is increasing every year because of increased rainfall through climate change.

'Right balance'

It said a major flood could affect more than 3,700 households and 700 businesses.

Martin Slater, the Environment Agency's development manager, said the scheme was still in the early stages.

Our proposals for the city centre waterfront include flood protection landscaping that will blend in with the surroundings unobtrusively
Martin Slater, Environment Agency

He added: "Getting the right balance for a scheme that will help to protect the important regional centre of Leeds whilst retaining the character of 19km of waterfront and also funding all the criteria for government funding will not be an easy task.

"Our proposals for the city centre waterfront include flood protection landscaping that will blend in with the surroundings unobtrusively, whilst greatly increasing protection and retaining access to the waterfront."

In his letter, the director of Leeds Civic Trust, Dr Kevin Grady, said the current scheme would be "highly detrimental to the amenity, accessibility and appeal of the Waterfront".

His letter stated: "Cost saving rather than quality is driving these proposals, and inadequate weight is being given to the value of additional options which could significantly reduce the levels of floodwater in the city centre.

"In essence the current proposals represent a pretty basic, 'low-cost' engineering solution to the problem."

Mr Slater said the scheme was estimated to cost around £130m.

He said if the agency adopted the trust's recommendations it could rise to more than £200m, which would beyond the reach of government funding.
 

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I have to say, I share the Civic Trust's concern about how this could be terrible for the riverside. Much more innovative approaches need looking at.

Why not look at what York has done? At Clifton Ings there is a large floodplain that is allowed to flood if a flood is likely. It holds back a lot of the surplus water from the city which is then gradually released when the river goes down. Leeds could set aside a large floodplain in Kirkstall Valley.

I am much more in favour of a relief waterway running south of the Aire. If this was in a deep channel, it's capacity could be increase significantly when needed too. With a flood barrier somewhere near City Island, surplus water could be directed along a new waterway and away from the central riverside.
How many of the 'at risk' homes are the ones that noone will want to live in anymore if they build the scheme as it's proposed now?

The article suggests that the cost of the 'better' version maybe £70m more, but what is the cost of building the other one - I suspect the 'cost' of the waterfront reverting to its old form would be more than that.
 

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I agree with following York's flood protection as a model which Leeds could learn from. Also couldn't this be a good opportunity to create a new canal to the south of the city centre (between the river and the M621) perhaps to move the water from the River Aire away from the city (which could be linked via pipes) and also to encourage a new area of waterside development further down towards the south of the city shown shown roughly in red in the plan below (apologies if I go anywhere which involves knocking down anything historic which I missed out on which I obviously wouldn't want).

 

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I think it goes through a small part of 'the works' in Hunslet, an indoor skate park that I presume is housed in part of an old engineering works (not sure which), and you also go straight through First's brand new depot! Otherwise I think it's industrial units, viaducts, and a few near misses. Shouldn't worry too much, the cost would be astronomical!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't think they should build what is proposed- it would be a disaster for the riverside.

However, I disagree that we should do nothing. We've had a few major floods recently which have really affected riverside properties. It looks like these floods are only going to become more regular, and if the flood defences had been built when they should have been, we wouldn't have seen the flood damage we saw over the last few years.

I think this is an opportunity to create a new regeneration corridor, as Val Verde says, further south of the river. A new waterway would be quite significant in the UK where new waterways are rarely built too. We have the opportunity here not just to create flood defences, but make an attraction of them.
 

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It's fair to say that any proposal would look to spend as little as possible. Creating a gigantic imaginary canal like that just isn't going to happen, although the Arup idea is a possibility.
 

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From today's YEP:

Environment chief hits back at Leeds flood defence critics

Published Date: 23 July 2009

By Debbie Leigh

THE team behind a proposed £100m flood defence scheme for Leeds has defended the project after criticism from the city's heritage watchdog. And Martin Slater, the Environment Agency's development manager for the project, said if extra cash became available it could incorporate more innovative ideas.

Leeds Civic Trust has said the plans drawn up by the EA in partnership with Leeds City Council were unacceptable and driven by cost-cutting over quality.

It is backing "visionary" ideas suggested by urban design experts Arup, which include a flood alleviation channel, modifying weirs, merging the two channels of the River Aire and Aire and Calder Navigation below Knostrop by removing the island and upstream storage. But such measures could bump up the cost of the project by around £75m.

Mr Slater said: "Where does the money come from for this shopping list of public sector projects that's a mile long?

"Unless the money can be found from a private developer, industry or people who live in the city it won't be able to go ahead."

He added: "In principle we support the idea and if funding was to become available then we could integrate those ideas into our plans."

He said the Leeds (River Aire) Flood Alleviation Scheme – involving defences along a 19km stretch of the River Aire, from downstream of Kirkstall Abbey to Woodlesford – could be one of the largest projects of its type in the country.

It has been drawn up to cope with the worst flood predicted, described as the "one in 200 years flood," which would hit 3,700 homes, 750 businesses and cost an estimated £380m in damage.

Mr Slater said that for the most part the proposals did not involve huge walls being built along the river. The EA plans include features such as terraced seating platforms, landscaped embankments, and a raised viewing terrace as methods of preventing flooding.

Arup's measures would reduce floodwater in the city centre by up to 1.2 metres, meaning that where walls had been needed the smaller barriers would then be unnecessary and others could be reduced to a level people could see over.

Mr Slater said there was no guarantee the existing scheme would win Government funding but added: "At this point we want to put the best case forward to Government for funding.

"It will take anywhere up to a year to get approval and in that time we can carry on talking to the Civic Trust and Leeds City Council about these ideas."

Next month the EA team will finalise its proposals and in October it will present them to the agency's National Review Group. If endorsed it will go to DEFRA and the Treasury for funding approval.
 

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I wouldn't get too excited about funding for the arup idea becoming available. It would be interesting however to see the exact route proposed for the flood channel, and just how much island they intend to remove. Removing the island would certainly cause some difficulties. Not only is Thwaite Mills sited on it(!), it would also remove a significant part of the Trans-Pennine Trail/canal towpath without there being much alternative land to site it on. Also I suspect it may cause some navigation difficulties, since I suspect the river channel will not be navigable unlike the navigation cut.
 

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The council are supporting the EA scheme but agreeing to chuck in £10m to reduce the worst of the negative effects. I still have, probably unjustified, visions of Leeds's own twin versions of the Berlin Wall running along both riverbanks complete with graffiti. It would be reassuring to see some visuals of what the proposals might actually look like on various parts of the river.

I can't see the much more expensive Arup proposals having a chance in the forthcoming blitz on public expenditure.

http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/Backing-for-Leeds-flood-defence.5607021.jp

Backing for Leeds flood defence plan

Date: 02 September 2009
By David Marsh
PLANS for major flood defences in Leeds have taken a step forward with senior councillors giving their backing to the proposals.
And the council has announced it is willing to put £10m into the scheme to try to ensure the city gets the sorts of defences it wants.
The decision by the council's Executive Board to support the proposal – including approval of a design and vision guide for the project – will allow the plan to go before the Environment Agency's national review group in October.
If the scheme wins both agency and Government approval, work could start in late 2010 or 2011.
A report to the board said the agency's preferred option for Leeds was a £145m scheme requiring no council or other third-party funding.
But the report added a steering group of council, British Waterways, Yorkshire Forward and Yorkshire Water representatives felt the agency's preferred option would block some waterfront views and prevent access to parts of the riverside.
Coun Andrew Carter, executive member for development and regeneration, said: "This project has made good progress over recent months. It is now vitally important that we can secure funding for this scheme from the Environment Agency.
"The administration's commitment to look at ways of part-funding the scheme will be a key factor in ensuring that the city is safe from potential floods yet also remains an attractive and enjoyable place to visit."
Phil Younge, the agency's flood risk manager, said: "We appreciate Leeds City Council's support for developing flood protection for Leeds. Agreement on the council's willingness to contribute £10 million is a significant step towards our joint aim of protecting Leeds from the risk of flooding from the River Aire."
Leeds came close to serious flooding in 2007 and 2008. The agency has estimated that a major flood in the city would affect 4,500 residential and commercial properties and cause £400m in damage.

The proposed defences cover a 19km stretch of the River Aire from Newlay Bridge and on through the city centre to Woodlesford.
 

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The potential detrimental effects of this barrier are very worrying, so much so that I think I'd rather chance it and not improve the defences than ruin the waterfront just in case there's a flood. :eek:hno::eek:hno::eek:hno::eek:hno:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm not sure what to think. Leeds does need some defences but as you say, it could be detrimental to the riverside.

I think a more imaginative plan is needed, such as the relief waterway or floodplains upstream. I know costs would be much higher if this happened, but then this isn't any flood defence scheme but one through the centre of one of the UK's main cities. It should have either neutral or positive impacts, not negative ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
1 in 75 based on averages, but recent years have had adverse weather with spells of drought then heavy, persistent rain leading to flooding- just like we've had in the last few weeks. These are needed if this isn't just change in weather, but genuine climate change.
 

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At least it's a start... It says they will build it all with the option of a future improvement to a 1 in 200 year flood in mind, so that it is easily upgradable come the time funding is there...

At least until then we would have SOME protection...
 

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Seems plans have gone in for:

Demolition of listed old weir:
https://publicaccess.leeds.gov.uk/o...s.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=MC52UFJB17S00

New movable weir:
https://publicaccess.leeds.gov.uk/o...ils.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=MC52TPJB17S00

PDF summary doc here: https://publicaccess.leeds.gov.uk/o...04466_LI-DESIGN___ACCESS_STATEMENT-681874.pdf

Factoid about the PDF document - page 2 shows a photo of a brick structure. I think if I've got the right spot that this was an old rail bridge over the canal. It was insisted that the bridge be built as a swing bridge, to allow large ships to pass underneath. This was in case a Leeds ship canal was ever built linking toward the Humber.
 
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