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Protecting the biodiversity and ecology on Killingbeck Meadows flood alleviation scheme

Jackson is delivering a £1.7m flood alleviation scheme at Killingbeck Meadows in Leeds which inhabits one of the largest colonies of the protected species, White Clawed Crayfish. The team are going above and beyond to protect the biodiversity and ecology of the local natural reserve during works.

On behalf of Principal Contractor COLAS, and Client, Leeds City Council, Jackson will be constructing a flood attenuation reservoir and natural flood management features.

The project consists of a flood storage reservoir, with an adjustable flow control gate which can be operated in times of predicted flooding. Part of the scheme also includes natural landscaping consisting of six ponds, scrapes and channel works which will support the biodiversity and encourage habitat for various wildlife following the works.

The flood storage reservoir will comprise an earth embankment impounding structure, approximately 4m high, with a 3m wide reinforced concrete flow control structure to include a flow control penstock and a stepped inlet screen, and a new piled retailing wall along the western flank of the site.

During the works, the team is working collaboratively with designers WSP, COLAS and Leeds City Council to ensure all tress and living stumps within the project are protected. This scheme will include landscaping and habitat enhancement with new planting to further enhance the biodiversity of the area.

White clawed crayfish, a critically endangered species native to the UK, inhabit at this location, and it is thought the colony at Killingbeck is the largest that has been found to date. Jackson is working alongside ecologists to help move the colony upstream whilst work is ongoing, once work is complete they will be moved back to their original habitat.

Jackson have also created two bespoke boot washes to reduce contamination both on and off site. Before entering the site, boots must be washed in a disinfectant solution to prevent potential introduction of crayfish plague into the ecosystem. When leaving site, boots must again be washed with a bespoke boot wash unit to ensure spread of Himalayan balsam seed off of the site.

Once complete, the area not only act as a flood attenuation reservoir, but will also become a nature reserve for the surrounding wildlife and it is anticipated to be a focal point for the community.

Jackon’s Site Agent, Daniel Nicholls said: “This project serves as one of the first flood protection schemes being undertaken in Leeds, this one in particular to protect the local Dunhill Estate, which in the past has suffered from flooding from the Wyke Beck.

Jackson’s collaborative approach to the scheme alongside the Principal Contractor Colas will ensure this project leaves a great legacy for the surrounding area. Once complete the area will remain designated as a Local Nature Reserve, giving much needed green space in the urban surroundings of East Leeds.

Protecting the ecology of this area has been a focal point for the Jackson site team and we are committed to ensuring our construction activities do not adversely affect the environment we work in.”