Friday 22 January 2016
“Protection is cheaper than the cure” is the message that Sheffield City Council is sending to the Government in their request for a further £20 million to protect the city against flooding.
The Council has worked with the Environment Agency to develop a comprehensive flood defence programme involving 5 new major schemes. It is estimated that the cost of these schemes will total £43million. However, the Government has so far only earmarked £23million, leaving a £20million funding gap.
Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council, has written a letter to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling on the Government to provide this additional investment in Sheffield’s flood defences.
The programme would protect Sheffield from potential economic damage of around £1billion for the lifetime of the project.
Cllr Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council said: “The desperate pictures we saw on TV of flooding over Christmas and the New Year brought back memories of the devastating floods we experienced here in Sheffield in 2007.
“We urgently need more investment in flood defences from Government to prevent a repeat happening here. We have developed programmes that would protect Sheffield from flooding but it’s essential that we deliver the full programme because the success of the programme is reliant on each scheme, meaning that if one scheme is not delivered it reduces the overall protection of the whole project.
“Capital investment in Sheffield’s flood infrastructure has been very limited in comparison to other areas, this is why we are calling on the Prime Minister to provide a further £20million to Sheffield, so we can get on with building these defences. We are doing the best we can but our decreasing budget and pressure on our services means we are very limited.
“This is about protecting Sheffield people. We need Government to work with us to ensure our city is prepared and protected. Protection is cheaper than the cure and if we compare the £20million we need against the potential economic damages of £1billion, there should be no question.”
This is one of the very largest commitments to tackling flooding from any council in the country, and if delivered will reduce flood risk to around 6,000 households and 2,000 businesses – as well as protecting land for new development and clearing the way to support the building of new homes across Sheffield. By protecting land in areas with commercial potential, new flood defences would also enable new businesses and jobs and remove barriers to new investment, helping to grow the local economy.
The five schemes that form the programme are, a £15million flood alleviation scheme for the River Sheaf and Porter Brook; a £15million flood alleviation scheme in the Upper Don, including the rivers Loxley and Little Don; an £8million culvert renewal programme on watercourses across the city; a £3million environmental scheme to manage flooding and surface water from planned developments on the Manor and Arbourthorne estates; and a £2million flood alleviation scheme on the upper Blackburn Brook, which would benefit homes and businesses in Chapeltown and Ecclesfield.