Schemes take a step forward
It’s one of the largest flood defence programmes in any UK city.
Last year we consulted the public on options being considered for the Upper Don and Sheaf catchments, as part of the Protecting Sheffield from Flooding programme.
And now, following public feedback and further technical analysis, some of the options can be ruled out, while others are being progressed for further consideration.
Councillor Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for the environment, said: “We all remember the 2007 floods that caused such devastation to the city and, tragically, the loss of two lives.
“Ten years on, we as a council are driving forward these plans to ensure we are doing all we can to ensure that property flooding on this scale never happens again in our city.
“In progressing this vital work, we are listening to the views of communities and organisations, who are helping to shape our approach and the direction of the programme as it develops.
“This is potentially one of the largest investment programmes in the country when it comes to flood protection, and we need to get it right. We are therefore moving forward with working up more detailed proposals that are appropriate for Sheffield’s unique landscape and that will also protect the city from flooding for generations to come.”
Last year, Sheffield City Council’s flood protection team ran a consultation on a large number of potential measures aimed at protecting residents and businesses in the Upper Don, Porter and Sheaf valleys from flooding.
Sheffield’s approach to managing floodwater will begin with slowing the flow of water upstream, before it enters the city. This involves natural flood management, exploring the use of existing reservoirs, and creating flood storage areas in existing open spaces within floodplains. These flood storage areas would temporarily store flood water and release it slowly after a severe storm. For the majority of the time they would be dry, and used for recreation or as wildlife habitats.
The next stage of the council’s approach involves containing floodwater that does enter the city, by removing pinch points and building flood defences along rivers. Rather than just walls, these defences can involve environmental enhancements, such as pocket park that was recently built on the River Don at Nursery Street.
Further flood resilience measures are also being considered. These include securing improved river maintenance in the long term and improved flood emergency responses, to reduce disruption and allow people to get back to normal more quickly after a flood.
James Mead, senior flood risk advisor for the Environment Agency, said: “The Environment Agency continues to work closely with Sheffield City Council as they develop their range of preferred options and we are very supportive of the catchment-wide approach they are prompting.”
Following feedback given during the public consultation, as well further technical analysis and design, the programme team are now no longer considering options for flood storage areas at Wharncliffe Side downstream, Oughtibridge, Beeley Wood, Loxley Malin Bridge, Loxley Rowell Bridge, Rivelin Wolf Wheel, Totley Brook and Whiteley Woods.
In the Sheaf catchment areas, options that remain under consideration include rural land management and natural flood management; flood storage areas at Abbey Brook, Endcliffe Park, Mayfield and Millhouses Park and flood defences along the river around Abbeydale Road, Little London Road, Broadfield Road and Queens Road. Removal of pinch points is also under consideration, such as the one caused by the bridge at Saxon Road.
In the Upper Don meanwhile, options include looking at the use of existing reservoirs, rural land management and natural flood management, flood storage in areas including the Roscoe site in the Rivelin valley, the Wisewood site in the Loxley valley and upstream at Wharncliffe Side; defences along the river at Stocksbridge, Oughtibridge, Winn Gardens, Hillsborough, Loxley and Kelham Island, and catchment-wide measures to improve overall resilience to flooding. Consideration is also being given to channel re-grading and weir removal, downstream of Penistone Road Bridge on the River Loxley.
Consideration of the above options will be informed by the comments, questions and concerns raised by members of the public during the consultation.
In the coming months, a preferred option will be selected for each of the Sheaf and Upper Don catchment areas. These options will include a range of flood protection measures and will be the ones best suited to protecting the city from extreme flood events, while also taking into account the consultation responses, Government cost-benefit rules and any potential environmental impact.
The outline business case will be submitted to central Government later in the year. If approved for government funding, a process of detailed design will get underway during 2018.
This will involve further public consultation with affected parties, key organisations, the planning authority and communities to ensure that the final designs are the best they can be.
The overall programme involves six separate flood alleviation schemes, to protect homes and businesses in different parts of the city. In addition to the Upper Don flood alleviation scheme and the Sheaf and Porter Brook flood alleviation scheme, the following schemes also form part of this programme:
- A Lower Don Valley programme, which is already nearing completion;
- a culvert renewal programme;
- an environmental scheme to manage flooding and surface water from planned developments on the Manor and Arbourthorne estates; and
- a flood alleviation scheme on the upper Blackburn Brook, to benefit homes and businesses in Chapeltown and Ecclesfield.
The economic benefits of the programme, should the council achieve its objectives, include the potential for 15,000 new jobs, 27,000 new homes, 40 new businesses and £150million economic growth for Sheffield per year.
Coun Lodge added: “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, so we have no choice but to do all we can now to prevent this.
“This flooding could come at an economic cost of £1bn to Sheffield, as well as proving catastrophic for residents and businesses.
"That's why I'm so pleased we are pressing ahead with these schemes. We will do, and are doing, our very best to protect Sheffield from flooding, now and into the future.”