South Yorkshire is over £100 million short in funding for adequate flood defences

South Yorkshire could be as much as £125 million short in funding it needs for adequate flood defences, town hall bosses have said.

Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 7:00 am

South Yorkshire could be as much as £125 million short in funding it needs for adequate flood defences, town hall bosses have said.

Following the November 2019 floods, the Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis and South Yorkshire’s councils jointly submitted a business infrastructure programme for South Yorkshire with an investment ask of £271 million to protect over 2,800 businesses and 10,300 homes.

Discussions have since taken place between the mayor, council leaders and the Government which culminated in a South Yorkshire Flooding Roundtable hosted by the Secretary of State in October.

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The village of Fishlake, Doncaster, submerged under flood water. Picture: SWNS

Current proposals would see around 100 flood schemes implemented in South Yorkshire through the Government’s Grant in Aid programme.

Projects range from small scale drainage works and property level protection measures to large scale flood defence schemes, such as Rotherham to Kilnhurst at £24 million and in the Upper Don at £38 million.

The Environment Agency’s programme incorporates 26 of the 27 South Yorkshire ‘Priority Programme’ schemes including work to address severely flood affected areas like Bentley and Fishlake, as well as a £40million ‘Nature Based Solutions’ programme covering the whole Don catchment.

But Garreth Bruff, senior programme manager, at Sheffield City Region, said: “Restrictions placed on the way GiA is calculated for individual flood schemes will mean that many of South Yorkshire’s priorities will not be fully funded through Government investment, meaning that wider ‘partnership funding’ will need to be sought.

“This shortcoming of the GiA process has been the subject of lobbying by the mayor and council leaders over the summer. For example, an additional £16 million of additional ‘booster’ funding was announced by Government in July to help implement work on two of the Priority Programme schemes in the Upper Don area.

“However, this still leaves many other schemes with additional funding requirements before they can be fully implemented.

“Latest analysis suggests that even with the allocation of GiA – to be confirmed in early 2021 – the South Yorkshire Priority Programme schemes are likely to have a remaining cumulative funding gap of around £125m in total.”

A Defra spokesperson said: “We have committed to doubling national investment in flood defences to £5.2 bn over the next six years, of which Yorkshire, including South Yorkshire, will receive its share.

“We’re encouraging local authorities to continue to work closely with the EA and other partners to ensure that projects are considered in accordance with funding rules.”

Full list of South Yorkshire priority flooding projects

Sheffield:

Sheffield led:

1. Blackburn Brook Flood Alleviation Scheme2. Sheaf Catchment Flood Alleviation Scheme*3. Upper Don Flood Alleviation Scheme

Environment Agency led:

4. Upper Don Reservoir Storage5. Nature Based Solutions Programme in Upper Don

Doncaster:

Doncaster led:

14. Bentley Flood Alleviation Scheme*15. Conisbrough Natural Flood Management*16. Tickhill Natural Flood Management*17. Doncaster Borough Wide Surface Water Alleviation Scheme*18. Fishlake Flood Alleviation Scheme

Environment Agency led:

19. Nature Based Solutions Programme in Lower Don20. Refurbishment and Replacement of Lower Don Embankment21. Wheatley Park Embankment Refurbishment22. St Mary’s Bridge Wall Refurbishment*

South Yorkshire Wide

Environment Agency led:27. South Yorkshire Catchment Plan (Barnsley, Rotherham, Sheffield and Doncaster)