Flood Protection Proposals

Thursday 1st December 2016

Centenary Riverside Natural Flood Defence, Rob MillerCentenary Riverside Natural Flood Defence, Rob Miller

Flood protection for Sheffield was on the agenda at last night’s City Council Economic and Environmental Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee. We were really pleased to be asked to comment about these important proposals to ensure the city is protected from flooding in the future.

Here are some of the issues we raised:

  • We asked the Council to seriously apply ‘all the tools in the box’ to help protect the city. There are a range of ‘tools’ – hard engineering (concrete walls, dams), soft engineering (re-meandering areas, restoring natural floodplains) and natural flood risk management (restoring peatland, tree planting, re-wetting etc). We should be using all of these.
  • Why not apply for natural flood management funds that have just been announced by Government?
  • Local people, communities, land owners and managers have a lot of knowledge and a lot to offer, there needs to be a mechanism for wider involvement if we are to ensure the city is protected.
  • We recognise the need for some solutions in the shorter term. But soft engineering can be delivered relatively quickly. Natural flood risk management options take longer to be realised but have increased benefits in the long term and will be cheaper to maintain than hard engineering. We should invest in these now.
  • How the Council models the cost/benefits of different proposals needs to take these issues into consideration – and be shared publicly.
  • We have just been successful in our Landscape Partnership project (£4mln) that has natural flood risk management as a strand within it. There is a very real opportunity to work with us and land managers and farmers in the NW Sheffield area to really improve the city’s flood defences. The area covers much of the Upper Don catchment – Loxley, Porter, Rivelin – that is the focus of the Councils proposals. Why not work with us?
  • We do not support the proposals that use nationally important natural assets of the city, such as ancient woodland and local wildlife sites for flood storage. The Council must make a case that these are the last resort options and undertake a full Environmental Impact Assessment for the whole scheme.
  • And finally we hope the Council will take forward the idea of a ‘strategic flood protection partnership’ that involves a number of key organisations working on this issue for the city as well as strong links into the community.

We look forward to hearing more from the Council about the next steps in taking forward the scheme.

You can read our final response to the consultation on our campaigns and planning page.

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