Rachel Reeves

Member of Parliament for Leeds West

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I am delighted that the next stage of the scheme to provide Kirkstall and Kirkstall Road flood protection is set to be sent to the Government for approval.

On Wednesday 13 December, senior councillors will be asked during an executive board meeting to approve formally submitting the plans in an outline business case to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Following the success of the £50million first phase of the scheme serving the city centre, Holbeck and Woodlesford in October, phase two identifies measures further upstream including Kirkstall, which was badly affected by the Christmas Floods in 2015. Businesses like Freedom Mills on Kirkstall Road were hit by the 2015 floods

Proposals in the Second Phase include:

•Creating new woodland areas by planting hundreds of thousands of tree saplings on council-owned land, including Kirkstall locations that are yet to be specified.

•There are also recommendations for the removal of a disused bridge at Milford Place in Burley and the removal of a platform under Gotts Bridge, Kirkstall.

•Where possible, using sites in Leeds to temporarily retain flood waters when levels are high. Control gates would be used to fill and then release water from the stores back into river when safe to do so. Initial major sites identified in the report include Rodley Nature Reserve and at Apperley Bridge.

•Smaller temporary flood water storage sites have been identified at Kirkstall Meadows (the rugby practice pitches on the opposite bank to Kirkstall Abbey) and Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve

•Removing existing obstructions along the river to help reduce water levels, along with also lowering the riverbed in places to improve its capacity and flow.

•Improving riverbank protection measures along the river catchment in Craven and Pendle along with enhanced woodland areas and installing debris dams.

•A new 700-metre long flood defence at Stourton, similar to those installed at Woodlesford as part of phase one.

•Building raised defences along with landscaping, terracing, embarkments and walls, but due to the range of natural measures the height of any engineered defences will not need to be as high as previously projected.

If approved by the government the proposal work would be scheduled to begin in early 2019.

Kirkstall flood protection update

I am delighted that the next stage of the scheme to provide Kirkstall and Kirkstall Road flood protection is set to be sent to the Government for approval.

rachel_chess_at_whingate.PNG

Recently I was invited to Whingate Primary School to play chess against a number of pupils in a simultaneous game! 

Pupils at Whingate have been playing chess for quite a few years and some of them are getting very good! I am really pleased that a number of schools in Leeds West play chess, it is a great way for pupils to learn good concentration skills.

 Representatives from Chess In Schools joined me on this visit, they do regular chess training with the pupils to help improve their skills. 

Chess at Whingate Primary School

Recently I was invited to Whingate Primary School to play chess against a number of pupils in a simultaneous game! 

It is utterly inexplicable that the EU waited until after the UK bids were submitted to rule them ineligible. Leeds shouldn't miss out on hosting European Capital of Culture just because of Brexit. I'm calling on European officials and the Government to take urgent action.

Other non-EU countries have hosted European Capital of Culture in the past and Brexit alone should not cause Leeds to miss out in 2023 – especially when the city has already spent £1 million on its bid. I along with other MPs, have written to top European official, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley, to call for urgent action.

The Capital of Culture bid process has given the city the perfect platform to showcase what Leeds has to offer to Europe and the rest of the world. I urge those involved not to deny Leeds the chance to  boost jobs in the city and grow our economy just because of Brexit. That would be deeply unjust.

Whatever European officials and the government agree, Leeds will continue to promote and support our culture, talent and venues because they enrich our lives and give us pride in our city and culture.

Leeds European City of Culture 2023 bid

It is utterly inexplicable that the EU waited until after the UK bids were submitted to rule them ineligible. Leeds shouldn't miss out on hosting European Capital of Culture just because of...

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