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Council to highlight flood investment needs as Oliver Letwin MP visits Sheffield

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Sheffield City Council will strengthen the call for further investment in flood defences in the city when Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancashire, Oliver Letwin MP visits Sheffield on Tuesday 5 April.

The visit will be led by the Environment Agency and is part of Mr Letwin’s flood resilience review which will look at the future funding of flood schemes.

The Council has worked with the Environment Agency to develop a comprehensive flood defence programme involving 5 new major schemes. Early estimates show that the cost of these schemes will be around £43million. However, the Government has so far only earmarked £23million, leaving a £20million funding gap. In January the council asked the Government for the additional £20million but are yet to receive any commitment to the extra funding.

Councillor Terry Fox, cabinet member for environment and transport at Sheffield City Council said: “We’re pleased that Mr Letwin is visiting Sheffield and we will take this opportunity to show him the good work we have done and continue to do with the Business Improvement District and highlight the benefits to the city from the investment.

“That being said, we have only been able to start projects like the Lower Don Valley and Nursery Street Pocket Park by thinking differently and developing innovative ways to progress flood defences – we now urgently need the Government to commit to the extra funding so that we can deliver this essential programme across the city.

“This is about protecting Sheffield people and businesses and then driving growth of business and, homes. We need Government to work with us to ensure our city is prepared and protected or we could be facing potential economic damages of £1billion if we’re hit by severe flooding again. We’ve said it before, when we wrote to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer in January, protection is cheaper than the cure, and now we hope to impress this message upon Mr Letwin when he joins us in April.”

Sheffield’s flood defence programme is one of the very largest commitments to tackling flooding from any council in the country and is at the forefront of innovation. The city’s hilly landscape forced the council to think differently in terms of flood protection and they have risen to that challenge to create a programme where each scheme strengthens the protection of the others – providing an interlinked network of protection across the city, which once delivered could be used as a source of inspiration for cities around the world.

Once complete the programme will reduce flood risk to around 6,000 households and 2,000 businesses – as well as protecting land for new development and clearing the way to support the building of new homes across Sheffield.

The five schemes that form the programme are, a £15million flood alleviation scheme for the River Sheaf and Porter Brook; a £15million flood alleviation scheme in the Upper Don, including the rivers Loxley and Little Don; an £8million culvert renewal programme on watercourses across the city; a £3million environmental scheme to manage flooding and surface water from planned developments on the Manor and Arbourthorne estates; and a £2million flood alleviation scheme on the upper Blackburn Brook, which would benefit homes and businesses in Chapeltown and Ecclesfield.