Leeds flood alleviation scheme; Leeds flood alleviation scheme;

Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme: one of the largest river flood schemes in the UK

The Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme is one of the largest flood defence projects in the UK and the first in the country to use movable weirs. We worked with Leeds City Council to develop a scheme that was in keeping with the city’s character and landscape and one that focused on reducing obstructions that were causing water levels to rise.

Our scheme replaced an earlier proposal that was rejected by the UK government on the grounds of excessive cost. By identifying those flood measures that would provide the most immediate benefits we believed we could make significant improvements on a smaller budget whilst achieving more sustainable results in terms of the economy and local natural habitats.

With the first phase of the scheme completed in 2017 the risk of flooding to the city centre has been substantially reduced. It has helped to protect 3,500 homes and 500 commercial city centre properties as well as key access routes to the train station. It also provides security for the data and telecommunications infrastructure and electricity sub-stations. Preventing the risk of city-centre flooding has ensured that the development of Leeds South Bank can progress and with it bring up to 35,000 new jobs and 4,000 additional homes to the city. It will be home for the new HS2 terminus due for completion in 20XX.

Project Summary


3,500 homes protected

10 kmwaterfront protected

150 jobscreated

The Leeds FAS phase 1 principally protects against flooding of the River Aire

The FAS will most notably bring confidence for regeneration, economic growth and benefits to the people of Leeds for being the 'Best City for Health & Wellbeing;' as well as protecting 3000 homes and 500 existing businesses.

Smart solutions

Arup’s team of expert engineers designed an innovation solution that helped maintain the connection between the river and city.  Phase 1 saw the removal of the two main navigation weirs  at Knostrop and at Crown Point and replaced them with new mechanical moving weirs. Normally, these new mechanical weirs will be in a raised position to allow barges to navigate up and down the river without compromising city views. However in periods of dangerously high flood levels, these weirs will progressively lower and reduce the height of the flooding to the lowest practicable level.

Innovative design

Landscaped flood defences and the modification of existing buildings were also included in Arup’s design, to ensure the highest standard of flood protection to be achieved in both the short and the long term.