Leeds city centre flood defences to go ahead

The city has been close to major flooding five times over the last decade.

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A £50m scheme to protect properties in Leeds from flooding has been given the go ahead.

The government will provide £32.5m for the scheme with the remainder coming from the council and local businesses.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the scheme could create 18,000 jobs over 10 years.

Construction work on a 2.2 mile (3.5km) stretch of the River Aire is expected to begin later this year.

The Environment Agency said the scheme would improve flood protection for 3,000 homes and up to 500 businesses between Leeds train station and Knostrop.

Tony Andryszewski, flood risk manager at the agency, said: "This investment will allow local business communities to generate and prosper, supporting the creation of thousands of jobs over the next 10 years."

Environment Minister Richard Benyon said: "Leeds is a massive scheme which will unlock enormous regeneration potential. We will see 18,000 jobs created as a result of that over the next 10 years.

"It is hugely important for a community that has lived under the risk of flooding right in the centre of the city for many years."

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