Flood Defences (Leeds)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:15 pm on 27th January 2016.

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Photo of Rachel Reeves Rachel Reeves Labour, Leeds West 7:15 pm, 27th January 2016

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend.

I want to turn now to the economic effects on Leeds of the floods. The workforce in Leeds total 470,000 people, with a huge number travelling into the city from the surrounding areas every day. If the flood had happened on a working day, thousands of people would have been unable either to get to work or to get out of the city, resulting in huge amounts of congestion and countless working days being lost. The disruption to mobile telecoms infrastructure was bad on Boxing day, but it could have been worse. Significant risks have been identified at key infrastructure sites, including the Vodafone site off Kirkstall Road, which provides important communications to the council, the police and the national health service, and the power substation on Redcote Lane in Kirkstall, which powers 50,000 properties. Both were disrupted on Boxing day and for days afterwards. Leeds is also the regional centre for emergency and specialist healthcare, hosting the largest teaching hospital in Europe, and it relies on that infrastructure on a daily basis. For that reason as well, the city needs to be accessible by road and by rail.