Next phase of Leeds flood defence works set to begin
The next phase of works on the £45million Leeds Floods Alleviation Scheme which aims to protect Leeds city centre from a repeat of the devastating flooding seen at Christmas is to begin this week.
The scheme being overseen by Leeds City Council features the installation of state-of-the-art new moveable weirs to control the level and flow of the River Aire, and the next stage of work will focus on the weir being put in place at Crown Point.
The work will see machinery used to undertake ‘piling works’ for the new weir. As the work will be taking place close to properties at Crown Point, residents and businesses are being advised they may experience increased noise and vibration levels over the next three months until it is completed in mid-September.
The noisiest element of all of the piling works will take place only between 9am and 5pm on weekdays, with the most severe periods lasting for up to 15 minutes on average six times a day. None of this work will take place at weekends.
The ‘piles’ are in three forms of sheets and tubes, offering a mixture of temporary and permanent foundation support for the weir. Work on the sheet piling typically generates more noise, whereas the tubular piles cause more vibration. The temporary works will run until mid-August followed by the permanent foundation supporting work.
Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning Councillor Richard Lewis said:
“We are pleased with the progress made on the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme, which is a key development need for the city as was unfortunately shown at Christmas. This next phase of the project involves working closer to properties at Crown Point, so there will be some noise and vibration experienced although every effort is being made to keep the impact to a minimum.
“We would ask for everyone’s patience and understanding please while the work is carried out as this vital development needs to be done in order to defend the city centre from a repeat of the awful situation we suffered after Storm Eva.”
The Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme began with improvement works being carried out in Woodlesford in 2014, which proved effective in protecting properties when the unprecedented floods caused by Storm Eva hit Leeds at Christmas.
The project then moved into the city centre to provide defences downstream of Leeds Station. This work started last January, with a programme of works to alter the flow of the river as well as supporting infrastructure including the introduction of innovative moveable weirs, low-level embankments, terracing, riverside walls, and the removal of Knostrop Cut.
The project remains on course to be completed in May 2017. A modelling and feasibility study led by the council and the Environment Agency is also now underway on a second phase of the scheme upstream from the city centre to offer future protection to Kirkstall and surrounding areas badly hit by the impact of Storm Eva.
The Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme is being managed by Leeds City Council and funded by the council, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Environment Agency and the Department for Business Industry and Skills. For more information and to see an aerial video of the progress so far visit www.leeds.gov.uk/fas
Notes to editors:
The Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme is a high priority project which aims to defend the city centre from the significant physical and economic damage that results from flooding.
When finished, the risk of flooding to over 3,000 homes and 500 businesses in the city centre will have been reduced along with key transportation infrastructure and telecoms and electricity substations.
It aims to support the further growth and regeneration of the Leeds economy by reducing the flood risk to 300 acres of development land and open up key regeneration opportunities in South Bank Leeds. The scheme will safeguard 22,000 indirect jobs over the next 10 years and generate 150 direct jobs and apprenticeships to work on the project.
The pioneering technology used on the project will place Leeds at the cutting edge of national flood defence schemes, raising the profile of the city both nationally and internationally.
Piling works – Q & A
Q. What are the normal working hours?
A. Operatives are present on-site Monday to Friday between the hours of 07.30 and 19.00. Working hours are between 08.00 and 18.00. The back driving of piles (nosiest part) will only be undertaken between the hours of 09.00 and 17.00. Piling will not take place on weekends.
Q. Are there any standard periods where noise/vibration impacts will not be experienced?
A. Aside from the working hour restrictions described above, generally break periods are taken between 10.00 and 11.00 and 13.30 and 14.00 each day.
Q. Will vibration be felt inside properties?
A. It is anticipated that some vibration will be experienced inside properties. External pre-condition surveys have been undertaken and it is expected that the vibration will be well below tolerance levels. The readings taken from the piling carried out so far reinforce this.
Q. What different options have been considered?
A. There is not a feasible alternative of driving sheet piles to install the cofferdams in the river as no other methods will provide the safe dry environment required to construct the new structure.
In terms of the tubular piles, an alternative method has been considered but this has been discarded because it would extend the duration of the works by between 25-50% and although it would generate less high level noise and vibration, it would result in continued lower level noise for longer periods.
Q. What mitigation will be used?
A. The highest noise level activities will only be undertaken at the specified periods above and only new piles will be installed as opposed to reused piles which will eliminate as far as possible additional impacts associated with piles buckling during installation. The use of an acoustic shroud to reduce the direct ‘metal to metal’ noise impact is being explored with the supply chain, however the practical options available for the large diameter piles being used are very limited. Noise attenuation including the use of acoustic barriers around general work equipment and the re-routing of exhaust emissions will be used.
Q. What communication has taken place so far with the surrounding area?
A. Following on from earlier correspondence during the design stage of the scheme, more recent specific communication regarding Crown Point has included letter drops, a bespoke information event, fortnightly email updates to stakeholders on the Crown Point mail list and fortnightly updating of on-site information boards. More broadly, the Crown Point works were one of two key messages translated at this year’s Waterfront Festival, weekly tweets are issued regarding the scheme, the website is updated monthly and a bi-monthly newsletter is distributed to identified scheme stakeholders.
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Leeds City Council press office,
Tel: 0113 395 0244