NEWS ROUNDUP: Flood prevention plans approved
20/05/21 | Leeds local news | Councillors in Leeds have unanimously voted to approve a new 100-acre reservoir as part of the latest steps to prevent future flooding in the city.
Leeds City Council’s City Plans Panel met to discuss plans for the section of the River Aire running between Apperley Bridge and Kirkstall, which is set to include a flood storage reservoir, walls, sheet piling, earth bunds and scour protection.
Phase one of the scheme, which stretches from Leeds City Centre to Woodlesford, was finished in 2017, while a section between Leeds City Centre and Newlay Bridge was approved in 2019.
The plans were met with a warm reception by Leeds city councillors, who praised work by council officers for bringing the plans forward.
Coun Dan Cohen (Con) said: “This is a really excellent proposal. It addresses a need but is done in a thought-out, sensitive and logical way. I am really impressed by this as a proposal.”
Coun Paul Wadsworth (Con) added: “The scheme has to be there to stop the water coming down. There are odd little bits we might not like in the construction stage – it’s never perfect when you’re constructing it, but when you look at the stuff in the city centre, it is good quality and it is doing a good job.
“When it all blends in, and when it is used it will do the job.”
The latest proposals include a 101-acre flood storage reservoir in rural land between Calverley, Horsforth and Rawdon. The site would also include banking and the “realignment of the River Aire”.
A series of reinforced concrete and steel sheet pile walls will be installed in areas around the Apperley Bridge end of the scheme, to mitigate the flood risk caused by the work.
It is hoped the work will provide a “one in 200 year” cover, meaning there would be a 0.5 percent chance of flooding in a given year.
The panel then unanimously voted in favour of the plans.
Committee chairman Coun James McKenna (Lab) said: “It is a scheme that is important to the city, and to the councillors who represent the wards the river passes through.
“The engineers and expertise has been brought to bear on this. I remember 2015, remembering helping communities in Kirkstall Road. Let’s get this built.”
(LDRS | Richard Beecham)
A new Hearing and Balance Service was officially opened this week at a special ceremony in Leeds.
The old Hearing and Balance Centre moved from its former home on the Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) site to a new unit in Seacroft Hospital and has become known as the Hearing and Balance Service.
The move has come about because work continues apace on the construction of two new state-of-the art hospitals on the LGI site due to be completed in 2025.
The Hearing and Balance Service offers hearing assessments and high-quality hearing aids to children and adults in the Leeds area.
On hand to cut the ribbon to the new £2.1m unit was Julian Hartley, the Chief Executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
Two of the service’s patients were invited as special guests to the ceremony, 80-year-old Eric Songhurst, who had been under the care of the Service for 16 years, and three-year-old Poppy Whitaker along with her mum and dad, Katie and Matt.
Poppy has been under the care of the Hearing and Balance Service after her mum, Katie, noticed her daughter had problems with her hearing after being screened as a baby.
Tests showed she had moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears and not long after that she came under the care of the Hearing and Balance Service in Leeds.
Poppy was diagnosed with both Mondini Dysplasia and Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome, and she had her first cochlear hearing aids fitted at just eight weeks and has been wearing them ever since.
“Just recently she’s had some radio receivers fitted to her hearing aids,” said mum Katie. “These allow us to speak directly to her in a noisy environment, even at a distance, using a special lanyard we wear around our necks.
“The staff at Leeds Hearing and Balance Service are just fantastic. We wanted to learn British Sign Language, which is important to us as a family, and they put us in contact with a deaf mentor. It’s important as we want Poppy to be part of deaf culture.”
Retired teacher Eric Songhurst has had hearing problems since he was a child. “My ears have never been good, and I can remember when I was seven or eight walking home from the school hearing clinic in agony, with my hands over my ears,” said Eric.
About 16 years ago he really started to struggle, finding he couldn’t follow programmes on the television. “I got to the stage where I was avoiding certain work and social situations because I really struggled to follow conversations and discussions,” he added.
He saw an audiologist at the Leeds Hearing and Balance Service and then a consultant who told him he would be an ideal candidate for a bone-anchored hearing aid.
“After it was fitted, I was walking away from the hospital and I was thinking “Oh I can hear that, I can hear that, and I can hear that as well,” he said.
“Having the hearing aid fitted made me realise just how much of my hearing I had lost, and the first-class treatment and care I’ve received from the Leeds Hearing and Balance Service made a vast difference to life as it was.”
Julian Hartley, the Chief Executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust spoke at the official opening said the Trust examined a number of sites for the new Hearing and Balance Centre before deciding on Seacroft Hospital.
“Following an engagement exercise with patients, and acting on clinical advice, we decided the Seacroft site offered the space needed for the services’ specialist audiology testing equipment,” he said. “It also offers on-site parking and access by bus and road, which had been flagged up as a concern for patients during the engagement process.”
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is investing around £2.1m in the new unit at Seacroft Hospital, and the new unit offers modern clinic areas with new audiology testing booths and provision for paediatric cases as well as adults.
“I’m very proud of everyone in the Hearing and Balance Service, and not just because of the seamless transition to their new home, but for all the great work they do, day in and out, for the people of Leeds,” said Mr Hartley.
A pair of rare ospreys which were spotted on a nesting platform in North Yorkshire could become the county’s first breeding pair in a century.
The young birds have been displaying ‘promising mating behaviour’ on the purpose-built platform located in the Wensleydale area of the Yorkshire Dales.
Ospreys, which were extinct in the UK for much of the 20th century, take several years to reach maturity and experts said young new pairs are often seen practising nesting years before raising chicks.
Ospreys are a rare and endangered fish-eating bird, with as few as 200 breeding pairs in the UK.
The nesting platform was put in place earlier this year and is part of a wider osprey conservation project run by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
Mike Thornley, an osprey expert and the BASC’s regional officer, said there were high hopes for the juvenile pair.
He said: “These are two immature birds that have taken exceedingly well to the nesting platform and the area.
“There is a still a slim chance of them successfully laying eggs but it is getting late in the season and it is most likely, at their age, they are simply getting to know each other better and improving their nest ready for next year.”
Mr Thornley said with no ospreys nesting in the region for many decades, the pair could be the future for the Yorkshire population and the continued growth of species in the UK.
However, he added: “With a long autumn migration to West Africa ahead, we will have to remain patient and hopeful for their return next spring.”
(SWNS | Joe Pagnelli)
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