Friday, 20 September 2013

Flood risk plan consultation underway


Caption: An image of the impact of flooding in Millshaw in south Leeds in 2005

Leeds City Council is calling on residents to have their say on how best to manage the risk of flooding across the city.

As part of the Leeds Flood Risk Management Strategy, a public consultation exercise is now underway which will guide policies and activities carried out by Leeds City Council, the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water Services, the Canal & River Trust and the Highways Agency over the next six years.

The consultation takes the form of an online questionnaire which can be seen at www.leeds.gov.uk/floodrisk and will run until the end of October. It can also be completed at all one-stop centres and council-managed libraries in the city.

While acknowledging the major flood alleviation scheme which is proposed to reduce the chances of the River Aire causing a severe flood of the city centre, the scope of the strategy focuses instead on local flooding issues which originate from smaller watercourses, surface water, sewers due to excessive rainfall and groundwater.

The strategy is a national requirement and will provide an update to the preliminary assessment carried out in September 2011. It will be formally reviewed every six years with the next review due by April 2018.

Leeds City Council executive member for the economy and development Councillor Richard Lewis said:

“As part of the strategy for Leeds on trying to protect against the risk of flooding, it is really important that as many people as possible take part in the consultation and let us know their thoughts.

“We need to get this right as it will not be up for review again until 2018 so I would encourage people from all over the city to get involved.”

To take part in the public consultation go to www.leeds.gov.uk/floodrisk

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

New meadows causing a buzz in the city

A number of new flower meadows have been planted across the city, in an effort to see how urban areas can be made more pollinator friendly to insects.

Undertaken in partnership by Leeds City Council and Leeds University, this work forms part of the ‘The Urban Pollinators Project’, which is the first citywide survey of its kind to assess the role of all urban habitats. This research follows a significant drop in the number of pollinating insect numbers across the UK.

Leeds is one of four cities to be included in the study, and 15 suitable locations in parks and alongside roadside verges have been identified over the past three years as the home for flower meadows.

Maintained by the council’s parks and countryside team, scientists over the summer have surveyed the insects visiting the flower meadows, and will publish their results at a conference set to be held next year.

These findings will be invaluable in informing land managers and garden owners about the best species of flowers to plant in order to help make urban areas more attractive to pollinators.

Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member for the environment said:

"I am proud that Leeds City Council is playing such an active role in looking at how we can make our urban environment more pollinator friendly through the planting and maintaining of new flower meadows across the city.

"These vitally important little insects play such an essential role in ensuring that so many of our staple foods, such as potatoes, beans, cabbages and fruit continue to make it on to our dinner plates. It is therefore vital that work like this is undertaken to see how best the current decline in pollinating insect numbers can be addressed.

"Leeds is one of four cities to be included in this project, and it will be very interesting to read the results of this study when they are shared next year.”

Notes to editors:

A range of insects play a key part in the pollination process including; domestic honey bees, bumble bees, solitary bees, hoverflies, butterflies, moths and even beetles.

This project is part of a three-year £1.3m project, which involves scientists from four UK universities -Bristol, Reading, Leeds and Edinburgh. Now in its final year, all four cities are participating in the study.

A recent report, called “The State of Nature”, which was published in May this year and launched by David Attenborough, highlighted the steep decline across a swathe of the UK’s biodiversity.

Of the 3 148 species of native wildlife assessed by scientists, 60% was found to be declining in terms of population numbers and distribution.

Of these, insect numbers are amongst those falling, particularly for those which are depended on to pollinate 80% of the food crops grown in the UK, as well as the plants in gardens and the wildflowers in the countryside.

It has been calculated by the University of Reading that pollinating insects are worth £510 million to the agricultural economy every year in terms of the role they perform in ensuring food crops are pollinated.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578
Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk