Sheffield unveils grand plan to prevent floods

An aerial view of the village of Catcliffe near Sheffield which is under water after two days of heavy rain
An aerial view of the village of Catcliffe near Sheffield which is under water after two days of heavy rain
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PLANS for a string of flood defence schemes costing more than £50 million are set to be put forward in South Yorkshire.

Thought to be one of the biggest flood defence programmes of any city in the country, the schemes are an effort to prevent a repeat of the devastating damaged seen seven years ago.

Sheffield City Council is hoping to prevent a repeat of 2007 floods

Sheffield City Council is hoping to prevent a repeat of 2007 floods

The authority says without action thousands of homes and businesses will be at increasing risk because if the impact of climate change.

Sheffield Council’s cabinet is expected to agree that business cases for five separate schemes should be drawn up and put forward to the Environment Agency for Government funding.

Construction is already underway on a sixth scheme, costing around £19 million, centred on improving flood defences in the Lower Don Valley stretching from the city centre to Meadowhal.

Coun Jack Scott, the council’s cabinet member for environment, recycling and streetscene at Sheffield City Council, said: “As we saw in the June of 2007, flooding devastates communities and can ruin homes and businesses.

“We at Sheffield City Council are absolutely determined to do all we can to ensure that flooding on this scale never happens again in our city.

“Studies have predicted that, over the next 50 years, around 6,000 households and 2,000 businesses in our city will be at risk of flooding, due to climate change. This potential impact could come at an economic cost of £1 billion to Sheffield – as well as proving catastrophic for residents.”

The proposed schemes include a £12.4 million flood alleviation programme on the River Sheaf and an £11.9 million scheme in the Upper Don.

The council also wants to spend £8.2 million on renewing culverts on watercourses across the city. A report for councillors warns that “recent surveys and studies indicate that parts of this critical drainage infrastructure are structurally and hydraulically defective.”

The council wants to spend £2.6 million to manage surface water from proposed developments on the Manor and Arbourthorne estates.

The fifth project is a £2 million scheme on the upper Blackburn Brook to protect 233 homes in Chapeltown and Ecclesfield.

Coun Scott added: “This programme is a unique investment opportunity which will give Sheffield the best possible chance to become more resilient to flooding and the effects of climate change.

“I hope that it receives full Cabinet support, and look forward to progressing these ambitious schemes in the years to come.”

If the package of measures receives the necessary funding they could be completed by 2021.

They will initially provide protection against a one in 200 year event although the effects of climate change are expected to mean that over time this reduces to one in 100.

Councillors will meet next Wednesday to decide whether to give council officers the authority to seek tenders and award contracts for the drawing up of business cases to support the applications for funding.

Sheffield was asked by the Government earlier this year to submit schemes for funding from a programme running from 2016 to 2021.

The Sheffield schemes have been provisionally accepted for funding but a final decision will be taken in November.

It is expected £23 million for the schemes will come from the Government with the rest of the cost coming from other sources.

The council is expecting to spend £2 million preparing the necessary business cases for the schemes.