Regional leaders in West Yorkshire have greenlit a £5.6 million flood defence fund aimed at safeguarding communities and businesses from the impacts of extreme weather. The funding will play a crucial role in fortifying the region’s resilience against flooding, with specific projects targeted to address vulnerable areas.

Among the approved initiatives is the refurbishment of a flood channel in Leeds, intended to redirect floodwaters away from businesses and channel them into the River Holme in Huddersfield. Additionally, new wetland areas will be created to impede the flow of water and provide added protection to homes and businesses in Brighouse.

These proposals received unanimous approval during a recent meeting of the regional Climate, Energy, and Environment Committee on 13 February. The funding is part of a broader £22 million flood alleviation effort announced by West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin in December, reflecting a comprehensive strategy to tackle the growing threat of flooding in the region.

An estimated 37,000 homes and 15,000 businesses in West Yorkshire currently fall within flood-prone zones. The devastating Boxing Day floods of 2015 damaged approximately 6,000 homes and businesses, resulting in an estimated half-a-billion-pound economic setback for the region.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said; “With the Earth hitting that all-important 1.5 degree tipping point, we know that one in a hundred year floods will become more common.

“So it’s vital that we step up our support for businesses and communities – some of which are still reeling from the devastating Boxing Day floods of 2015.

“While we cannot eradicate extreme weather completely, we can still make a huge difference with the right local support, as we build a greener, more vibrant West Yorkshire.”

Cllr Scott Patient, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Action, Active Travel and Housing said; “Flooding is a real concern across West Yorkshire, and this latest round of support will alleviate that ongoing threat and help to ensure that our region is fit for the future.

“We know the devastation that flooding causes so it’s vital measures are put in place to help to protect vulnerable communities and businesses as extreme weather becomes more frequent.

“Together, with partners, we remain committed to building a greener, brighter West Yorkshire that is resilient to the effects of climate change.”

The flood defence schemes that received approval include the Albert Street Flood Alleviation Scheme in Huddersfield (£526,176), the Sheepscar Beck Refurbishment Scheme in Leeds (£620,104), and the Brighouse Flood Alleviation Scheme in Brighouse (£4,499,000). Additionally, £966,000 has been allocated for natural flood measures in Leeds and Bradford, aimed at slowing the flow of water.