‘We seemed to have gotten away with it’ – Relief as Sheffield flood defences avoid repeat of 2007

The impact of Sheffield’s unprecedented rainfall would have been ‘significantly worse’ without the defences installed after the city’s last floods in 2007, the council has said.

By Dan Hayes
Friday, 8th November 2019, 3:37 pm
Updated Friday, 8th November 2019, 3:52 pm

Speaking on Friday, council leaders said they had worked with partners including Amey, South Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Yorkshire Ambulance Service, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and The Environment Agency throughout the night to ensure people’s safety.

By Friday afternoon, however, they confirmed all affected roads had reopened and no evacuations had been necessary.

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A man with car in a flooded street Sheffield, after torrential rain in the area.

Councillor Mark Jones, cabinet member for environment, streetscene and climate change, said: “Following a really wet October and with yesterday being Sheffield’s wettest November day on record it’s not surprising that water levels reached the equivalent of the 2007 floods.

“Although there was significant travel disruption, no compulsory evacuations were necessary.

“There was some ‘overtopping’ of the flood defences at the Lower Don Valley but they were not breached. Without these defences the impact would have been significantly worse.

“We are now working hard to clear remaining surface water on the roads and to assess the damage that may have been caused to properties and businesses.

“I would like to thank the hundreds of people who worked tirelessly through the night to keep everyone safe in the city.”

Disruption to travel continued on Friday but no additional significant rainfall was expected to fall today or across the weekend.

On Friday, businesses near the River Don in Sheffield spoke of their relief at avoiding a repeat of 2007.

Liz Aspden, landlady at the Harlequin pub on Nursery Street said the flood defences had done a ‘fantastic job’.

She said: “There were some problems at the central quay student flats but we seemed to have gotten away with it.

“The water was definitely above road level last night and it was getting a bit hairy. In 2007 the pub was still run by the previous owners but we have a photo and it just looks awful.

“But so far it has held and we have been able to stay open as normal. It takes a lot to shut us down.”