Our response to the Update on the Upper Don and Sheaf consultation

At the end of last month Sheffield City Council released an update to the Upper Don and Sheaf Consultation that was undertaken last year (http://www.floodprotectionsheffield.com/pages/consultation)

Here is our response to the update:

We welcome the Upper Don and Sheaf consultation update and suggest that Sheffield CC publicise it directly to the various community forums already engaged and email it to all those who made submissions to the consultation. The 2007 Sheffield floods dealt a blow to many businesses in Sheffield and it is essential that similar events do not occur in the future. We are keen for flood risk to be reduced through the implementation of sustainable solutions that not only protect against flooding but also provide multiple additional environmental, economic and social benefits. 

We recognise: 

– the need for a high standard of flood management to protect people, property and businesses across the Don Catchment to ensure the sustainable social and economic future of communities. 

– the challenging limitations that Sheffield CC are faced with in terms of; treasury rules that favour hard engineering solutions to flood risk, funding limits and timescales to deliver high standards of flood defences for Sheffield.

In particular we welcome the consultation outcomes that:

– seek to reduce the environmental impacts of proposed flood storage particularly in the Rivelin and Loxley valleys.
– make positive comments about NFM and use of YW reservoirs for flood storage. We will closely watch progress on the commitment to these measures. We believe these alternative may well enable the removal of the more environmentally damaging proposals remaining in the proposals.
mention of the potential for fish passage improvements.

As we have stated before, what is troubling is the urgency of the programme’s timetable, and we fear that Sheffield CC is placed in the position of having to rush through decisions without being able to fully explore alternative options. In particular we urge like-minded organisations to continue to lobby for NFM and for Sheffield CC to take the message to the heart of government.

Going forward the Trust wishes to work constructively with Sheffield CC, Arup and other stakeholders to arrive at the best outcome for the catchment and its people. We will seek further clarifications on how the remaining culverting options, flood storage reservoir usage and NFM are to be taken forward.

We offer the Trust’s expertise to help further develop work in these areas. We wish to engage with Sheffield CC to provide advice on measures to reduce the environmental impact of hard engineering. For example the scale and nature of culverts associated with storage structures to minimise any possible impedance to upstream/downstream movement of species. We would be happy to provide a list of specifications and criteria that any culvert should meet and to support any NFM funding opportunities.

Don Catchment Rivers Trust