Further flood defences planned for Don Valley

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MULTI-million pound flood defence plans have been announced to protect more than 300 businesses in Sheffield’s Lower Don Valley.

Defences have already been completed to protect The Wicker and Nursery Street, where the River Don broke its banks five years ago.

The latest plans would involve work continuing for a further seven kilometres downstream as far as Blackburn Brook on the M1.

Two options are being considered, one costing £10.8 million and the other £7.2m, which would involve raising or strengthening walls next to the river, rebuilding flood and sluice gates, and creating extra reservoir storage capacity.

Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield Council cabinet member for environment, said: “The Lower Don Valley is a critical area for the economy and we need to make sure we do everything we can to minimise the risk to existing and new businesses.

“In 2000 and 2007 Sheffield suffered serious flooding. The 2007 event alone caused millions of pounds’ worth of damage to local businesses, and many simply couldn’t survive another.”

Around 325 businesses could be protected by the multi-million pound project which is a joint scheme between Sheffield Council, the Environment Agency and Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.

Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: “Work is now under way to refine a proposal that gives the best value for money for all involved. There will be a significant public sector contribution, but this will be conditional on private sector support.”

The proposals are set to be approved at a meeting of Sheffield Council’s cabinet on Wednesday. The council is aiming to secure Government and European funds to cover the bulk of the cost.