ITEM 5. Originator: Colin Blackburn, Head of Infrastructure & Investment. Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Date: 23 March 2016

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1 Originator: Colin Blackburn, Head of Infrastructure & Investment ITEM 5 Report to: Overview and Scrutiny Committee Date: 23 March 2016 Subject: Flood Resilience in the Leeds City Region 1. Purpose 1.1 To provide an update on the economic impacts of the Boxing Day floods and their aftermath, and the ongoing activities to collectively respond to the flood resilience issues. The report also highlights the emerging national framework around infrastructure resilience, with a particular focus on flood risk, as a context for the ongoing activity. 2. Impacts of the Boxing Day 2015 Flood Event 2.1 The Boxing Day flood events severely affected several parts of the Leeds City Region, in particular the Calder Valley, Leeds City Centre, York and towns along the Aire and Wharfe valleys in the Bradford district. 2.2 Over 2,000 businesses and 5,000 homes were affected, and more than 3,600 jobs are currently at risk. The impacts on local business productivity will cost the Leeds City Region economy up to 365m in 2016 alone (0.5% of economic growth). 2.3 In addition to the direct business and residential impacts, there were and continue to be significant impacts on critical infrastructure: Many electricity substations were flooded, leaving thousands of homes, communities and businesses without power for several days. Emergency services were affected both from direct flooding and indirectly due to telecommunications being directly impacted. 110 water utility assets were damaged, 10 severely. The repair cost is estimated to be c. 50m. Major rail and road links throughout the city region were affected. Had the event happened on a normal working day, rather than a very quiet bank holiday, Leeds City would have seen approximately 27,000 commuters stranded within the city or on gridlocked roads.

2 Transport networks have been severely affected in some areas, with damage to road surfaces and bridge closures. Schools and educational centres have suffered closures. Recreational grounds across the valleys were flooded, putting significant financial pressure on valuable facilities that are often provided by community led charitable organisations. Green travel routes, such as canal tow paths and riverside walks have also been severely affected throughout the city region. 3. Recovery Response: Immediate Activity and Funding Commitments 3.1 The local authorities in the affected districts in conjunction with the Environment Agency Local communities, volunteers, local and regional public services including the local authorities and the Environment Agency played a major part in providing an immediate emergency response to the unprecedented floods; many local authority and Environment Agency officers remain engaged in helping support businesses and communities to recover from the aftermath. 3.2 The local authorities are reviewing the impact of the flood event to understand the scale and significance of it to their districts and the implications for future flood risk management. This work is being undertaken in different ways across the districts; for example, Calderdale has launched a Flood Commission which involved a series of themed meetings that were open to the public. In Leeds, the local authority is considering how to use the Section 19 report alongside a review of their existing strategy. In Wakefield, the Council Emergency Plans have been revised to be more dynamic in their application and focus on the outcomes of an incident as opposed to the cause of an incident; thereby allowing the Council to respond to the needs of its citizens in a more efficient manner. 3.3 The Environment Agency is already contributing 42.5m as part of the six year Flood Risk Capital Investment Programme across the Leeds City Region. This is supported by a further 15.2m from Local Levy (local authorities), other public sector bodies and the private sector. The cost to restore Environment Agency related flood risk assets that have been damaged is 40m. In January 2016, the Prime Minister announced that this money would be made available to rebuild and improve flood defences following the December 2015 flooding. 10m of this is earmarked for improvements to the Foss Barrier in York to provide greater resilience during future floods. The remaining 30m has been allocated for repairs and improvements to flood risk assets in a number of high priority areas across the affected parts of Yorkshire, and the Environment Agency is working closely with the lead local flood authorities to develop the programme. 3.4 Since Boxing Day 2015, the Environment Agency has inspected over 8,000 assets including flood walls, embankments, trash screens and culverts to identify what repair work is needed. Over 100 repairs have already been completed and a further 300 are currently underway. The Environment Agency aims to have all damaged assets repaired before the Winter.

3 3.5 The work has included the removal of hundreds of tonnes of debris from rivers - including trees, cars, capsized boats, boulders weighing over a tonne each; footbridges in the River Calder at Sowerby Bridge that had been washed away and a riverside building in Mytholmroyd that collapsed into the river. All of these posed a potential future risk of flooding to communities that have already been hit hard. 3.6 To complement this activity and funding support, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership has committed 5m to establish a grant based Flood Recovery Fund for businesses affected by the floods, which provides additional flexible financial support to ensure businesses can continue trading in the short term to medium term. The LEP Business Growth Team working alongside officers from local authorities and the Environment Agency, have been visiting affected businesses to identify their immediate needs and help them to get back up and operating as soon as possible. To date, c 400,000 has been administered to support local businesses. 3.7 A large scale event inevitably brings with it a focus on the areas most affected. However, the Environment Agency continues to work closely with all risk management authorities, key stakeholders, existing partnerships and forums, at all levels, to share learning and develop best practice to increase resilience to flood risk and generate collaborative investment in flood alleviation schemes that realise multiple benefits. 3.8 In the Calder Valley, a Catchment Partnership approach will be adopted for Calderdale, similar to one announced recently for Cumbria. This will build on the work of the existing partnership and provides an opportunity to take a fresh look at flood risk management and take on board lessons learnt from the December flooding. The overall aim is to form a view on how the Environment Agency, risk management authorities, local communities and other partners, such as those responsible for critical infrastructure, can all work together to use an integrated catchment based approach to develop and deliver a shared view on priorities. 3.9 On behalf of the partnership, and as part of the existing Capital Investment Programme, the Environment Agency is leading on a package of small schemes, currently in construction or at different stages of design, which will reduce flood risk to 725 properties. In addition to these, the partnership is looking to develop further schemes which will include Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd, and will explore opportunities to support site development as part of the M62 Corridor Enterprise Zone In Leeds, work is already underway on a 45 million scheme to reduce flood risk in central Leeds downstream to Woodlesford. The first phase is due for completion in March 2017, and, with Leeds City Council, the Environment Agency is working to improve the standard of protection provided by this initial phase. The Environment Agency is also working in close collaboration with Leeds City Council on a scoping report for future stages of the Leeds scheme. The scoping report will be completed by the end of March The Environment Agency and Bradford Council have been working together to develop integrated flood risk schemes in key growth areas, and aligning them with

4 major transport scheme development. These have the potential to attract a range of funding sources. This work will continue to develop alongside the recovery work. Joint activity and investment is also being taken forward in York and North Yorkshire particularly related to the Foss Barrier in York and the road bridge in Tadcaster. 4. Leeds City Region Strategic Flood Review & Partnership Approach 4.1 As noted above there is a lot of important and necessary activity being undertaken to tackle immediate needs, which has been critical to helping communities and businesses to return to a semblance of normality, and to ensure structures and infrastructure are safe and still operational. However, there is a growing appreciation that there is a need to step back and review whether strategically and collaboratively there are improvements that could be made to provide a more consistent and collaborative approach to reducing flood risk, preparing for and mitigating potential flood events, and responding to these events when they occur. 4.2 Leaders and Chief Executives of Leeds City Region have agreed that the Leeds City Region needs to undertake a Strategic Review. The Deputy Chief Executive of Leeds City Council and the Director of Communities and Service Support at Calderdale Council have been asked to act as leads for this review, working with lead officers from all the other Councils in the Leeds City Region and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority as part of this review. This review will also require significant involvement from key partner agencies including Environment Agency, Canals and River Trust, Yorkshire Water, Highways England and Pennine Prospects. 4.3 The review will report in late Spring and will cover four key areas: Understanding the economic impact of the flooding on LCR Emergency Response and Civil Contingency arrangements Enhancing Recovery to Civil Emergencies; and Resilience and Preparedness 4.4 In terms of the fourth key area above, it is considered that a much stronger whole catchment and multi-partner approach to flood resilience is needed, which would represents a significant opportunity to address flood risk and flood events in a more coordinated and holistic manner. This would include the principles of excellent green infrastructure design in all future capital schemes, from flood risk through to housing, transport, communications and utility networks recognising its critical role in ensuring sustainable growth; in addition to more traditional hard flood defence solutions. In June 2015, the WYCA Investment Committee supported the integration of the Green Streets principles into the West Yorkshire plus Transport Fund, which includes the development of Sustainable Urban Drainage schemes particularly where areas are subject to surface water flood risk. 4.5 There are already positive examples within the Leeds City Region and elsewhere of Green Infrastructure solutions being implemented and/or tested as part of wider whole catchment solutions to flood prevention and mitigation. For example the Peat Partnership to the north of the city region, Moors for the Future to the south and The

5 Source to the west, are great examples of landscape restoration. However, there is more to be done. An excellent local example of how learning from these approaches is being developed further is a Natural Flood Management Pilot scheme in the Wessenden Valley. As key partners of the West Yorkshire Local Nature Partnership, Yorkshire Water, the Environment Agency and the White Rose Forest are developing a methodology that should be applicable across all reservoir catchments, identifying how woodland and habitat creation upstream of reservoirs can better store and slow the release of water upstream in times of extreme rainfall; hence reducing the severity of surface run-off and flood risk, and potentially increase additional resilience to prolonged dry periods. 4.6 Discussions are also ongoing with Government Ministers and officials around potential devolution policy and funding asks that would support local flood response activity, including improving infrastructure resilience, which could form part of a wider Leeds City Region Devolution Deal. 5. Emerging National Framework for Infrastructure Resilience 5.1 The above city region activity will need to progress taking into account the emerging national framework around infrastructure resilience. The Natural Capital Committee is an independent body established in 2012 to report to HM Treasury and Cabinet Office. It is linked with the Economic Affairs Committee. The most recent report on the State of Natural Capital (January 2015) recommended that the Government should develop a strategy, action plan and investment programme to protect and improve natural capital within a generation. 5.2 In September 2015, Defra published its response to the Natural Capital Committee s report committing to producing a 25 year plan for a health natural economy. The response also encourages those organisations with significant influence or dependence on land, air and water assets to consider how best they can manage these to maximise value and minimise risks, using the methods explored in corporate natural capital accounting can help enhance the quality of organisational decision making in this regard. 5.3 In January 2016, the Cabinet Office and Defra announced the Terms of Reference for the Flood Resilience Review to be chaired by the Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP. During the Autumn, the Government will begin implementing any short-term measures identified, and will begin work to review the longer term strategy, which will include close consultation with the National Infrastructure Commission. The Flood Resilience Review will assess the impacts on crucial elements of local infrastructure, including significant roads, bridges, energy infrastructure, water treatment plants, telecoms and hospitals. It will consider the balance between protection and resilience, an assessment of risk in England s core cities and the role of both government and wider society in reducing flood risk.

6 Figure 1: The national framework relating to infrastructure resilience National Focus Natural Capital HM Treasury; b ff National Infrastructure Flood Resilience 5.4 The National Infrastructure Commission was launched on 30 th October 2015, and is led by Lord Adonis. The commission has been established in recognition that in order for Britain to get on with the job of delivering high quality infrastructure that benefits everyone, you need more than just a commitment to invest you need long term forward plans and the maximum possible consensus Lord Adonis. 5.5 There is significant opportunity for the WYCA, Leeds City Region LEP, and local authorities to work with key partners such as the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and the West Yorkshire Local Nature Partnership to demonstrate leadership and in so doing not only increase the resilience of Leeds City Region, but also use it as a unique platform from which to generate Good Growth as articulated in the Leeds City Region revised draft Strategic Economic Plan. Representatives from Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency have also been invited to attend the meeting. 6. Recommendations 6.1 The Overview and Scrutiny Committee is requested to: Note the scale and nature of the impacts of the recent Boxing Day flood event and the aftermath; Welcome the rapid response to the flood events by local authorities, the Environment Agency and other public agencies; Note the ongoing activity and investment commitments to respond to and prepare for flood events; and Comment on the proposed multi-agency and whole catchment approach to addressing flood prevention and adaptation, and provide a steer on key issues that need to be incorporated in future activities.

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