Councillor Bryan Lodge, Cabinet Member for the Environment
In Sheffield, we all remember the 2007 floods that caused such devastation to the city and tragically the loss of two lives. What isn’t widely known is that the city nearly experienced a repeat in 2012. Just this last winter, I’m sure you will all have seen the floods in Cumbria, Leeds and York.
Sitting at the foot of the Pennines with fast flowing rivers means that low-lying Sheffield communities and parts of the city centre are at a high risk of flooding. Climate change is increasing that risk at the same time as our city’s drainage network is getting older.
I can assure you that the City Council does not intend to do nothing and is determined to protect Sheffield from flooding. We have started work with the Environment Agency on one of the largest investment programmes in the country valued at £83 million. As well as protecting around 6,000 homes and 1,760 businesses, it will also protect prime brownfield land needed for new commercial and housing development; important city locations such as the railway station; vital utilities; and future high speed rail (HS2) infrastructure. We don’t just want to protect the city from flooding – through this work, along with your valuable contribution we have ambitions to find solutions that not only transform Sheffield’s waterways but also possibly generate electricity.
We’ve already started building new flood defences in the lower Don valley and I’m pleased to present our approach, options and ideas for protecting the
Upper Don, Sheaf and Porter valleys. This is the start of our consultation with the public in the city.
The options include a number of themes:
- Keeping flood water out of the city by using reservoirs, planting trees and managing upland areas differently; (these are areas on the highland outside of the city)
- Storing flood water in open spaces by using parks and woodlands that are on existing floodplains;
- Keeping water in the river channels by building new river walls and removing blockages;
- Making the city more resilient by better emergency planning and encouraging the public to better protect their homes.
We're focusing this consultation on themes two and three.
I hope you find the information contained in these consultation documents interesting and informative. Please note that the documents describe options and ideas that are under consideration and are not firm plans. We want Sheffielders to be involved in their assessment. Please tell us what you think of them and by all means put forward alternative options and ideas for protecting Sheffield from flooding and for transforming our rivers.
All our consultation materials and information about flood prevention can be found at www.floodprotectionsheffield.com. We also plan to go out into the communities so that people can drop in to a local venue and speak to us should they wish.
We understand the sensitivity of some of the parks and woodland locations that are being put forward for storing flood water. As shown, those options will
have an impact on the environment and on the use of those sites during construction.
Where possible we’re keen to enhance the parks for all year round use for more purposes and we’ve put forward some example ideas for your consideration but we would welcome more suggestions from you.
As you will see, the choice facing us as a city is clear - through working together we need to strike a balance between the options available to us from storing flood water in public open spaces, to raising river walls to ensure that our homes and businesses don’t have to suffer the damage sustained in 2007.
Thank you for your time in taking part in this consultation. Your views are important to us. We will provide feedback on what you’ve said and how it has informed the approach. Further consultation will take place as the project progresses.
Cabinet Member for the Environment