Sheffield’s £21 million Lower Don Valley flood defence completed

Sheffield flood defences open
New flood defences have been opened along the lower Don Valley in Sheffield. Here, at Jessops riverside and the Five Weirs Walk

A £21 million flood defence scheme to better protect hundreds of businesses in Sheffield’s Lower Don Valley has opened in a partnership scheme with the Environment Agency, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), local government and local businesses – the first of its kind.

The new flood alleviation scheme will benefit more than 500 businesses in this important part of the city, including key roads in and out of the city and homes along a five-mile stretch of the River Don. It will also help to safeguard around five thousand jobs.

Floods Minister, Thérèse Coffey, commented: “This partnership funding model showcases the way industry can work with Government to provide wider benefits to the community with local business investment in this project. The Sheffield Lower Don Valley scheme is protecting jobs, businesses and vital infrastructure which the whole city can be very proud of.

Sheffield has suffered severe flooding with the most recent in 2007, 2009 and 2012.

New ‘hard defences’ have been installed along an eight-kilometre stretch of the river to raise flood defence levels comprising new gravity walls, flood gates and more than 300 flap valves to pipes and openings which discharge to the river.

Opening the scheme on 25 January 2018, Sir James Bevan, Environment Agency Chief Executive, said: “Flooding has devastating costs for people and businesses – and we know this has been the case for the people of Sheffield. It’s been great to see Sheffield City Council and the Environment Agency working together in partnership to better protect the Lower Don Valley. It is the first scheme of its kind in the UK to have business owners contributing to the costs of the flood protection through the creation of a formal Business Improvement District – a business-led partnership created to bring additional services to local businesses. The Environment Agency and Defra contributed £19.3 million towards the total capital cost (£20.7 million), with local businesses contributing £1.4 million.”

In Yorkshire, the Government is investing £430 million over the next four years to reduce the flood risk to a further 63,000 homes and businesses.

The scheme has been shortlisted for an award as the best project over £5 million in the Institute of Civil Engineers Yorkshire and Humber Awards 2018.