In the wake of flooding in Leeds, Councillor Judith Blake, Labour leader of the council, issued this statement on Sunday.
“This weekend Leeds has been hit by devastating flooding unprecedented in its severity. Our thoughts and the focus of all our efforts are rightly on working with all agencies in the city to help those worst affected in order to protect life and to restore our road networks and power supplies as quickly as possible. I would like to thank everyone involved for their efforts in this emergency, and also to praise the sense of community spirit from all those people keen to help – that is something which only serves to reinforce my sense of pride in our great city.
“The cost of the damage caused by this event will be considerable, and if ever the evidence was needed that cities like Leeds must have the best possible comprehensive flood defences this is it. The council warned the government after several near-misses in recent years that a major flood in Leeds was a catastrophe waiting to happen, but the response was slow and not the level of investment we know the city needs for it to be fully protected. While now is the time to focus on the wellbeing of our residents and the condition of their properties and possessions, we will again be calling on the government for further significant investment in additional flood defences for Leeds. A preventable disaster like this must never happen again.”
Following the announcement of an emergency funding package today, she added
“We welcome the emergency funding package announced by the government today, which will provide much needed support to residents and businesses affected by the flooding in Leeds and help them to get back on their feet.
“We were pleased that Greg Clark responded to our invitation to visit Leeds today. We thought it was important that he saw for himself the devastation caused by this flooding event. Our resounding message continues to be that Leeds urgently needs further significant investment to ensure that we have the best possible comprehensive flood defences in place – defences appropriate for the size and importance of this city.
“We are yet to receive formal details about how this funding will be managed, and will continue to assess the impact and scale of need on affected residents and businesses. We will be convening a joint task group to make a full assessment of further support required as they seek to rebuild. We are also in close contact with other local authorities in the region and will be working with them to ensure that we support one another in the aftermath of this and any further events.
“We are prepared for the bad weather forecast over the next 24 hours and have made appropriate arrangements across the city.
“I would like to thank everyone again for their continuing efforts in dealing with this emergency, and also to praise the sense of community spirit from all those people who have helped. This really has reinforced my sense of pride in our great city.”