A £50M Leeds flood defence scheme using moveable weir technology for the first time has opened today.
The first stage of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme led by the city council and the Environment Agency is comprised of “state-of-the-art” mechanical weirs, the merging of the river and canal, and 4.5km of flood walls and embankments through the city centre.
It is the first time moveable weirs have been used in the UK for flood alleviation purposes and the weir gates, which take two hours to lower, are supported by inflatable neoprene bladders that can be lowered when high river flows are expected.
Floods minister Thérèse Coffey said: “No one can forget the devastating flooding residents and businesses in Leeds faced nearly two years ago. We know how distressing flooding is for all those affected and I’m delighted that through this new state-of-the art £50 million scheme thousands more people living and working in Leeds will be better protected.
“Our commitment to strengthening flood defences across Yorkshire doesn’t stop here – we are investing £430 million over six years up until 2021 to better protect the region using the best technology and engineering available.”
A new 150 tonne and 40m bridge been constructed across the weir, designed by Knight Architects, Arup, and BMMjv, connecting the TransPennine trail, a coast to coast walking route, to the north bank of the river.
A manmade island, known locally as Knostrop Cut, which separated the canal and river has been removed to improve a bottleneck and 180,00tonnes of the material excavated has been used on a local development site and to divert the Trans Pennine trail.