One year on from the November 2019 floods, the Environment Agency has checked 650 kilometres of flood defence embankments across South Yorkshire, inspected over 3,000 flood defences, and identified over 100 individual repairs that were required at a cost of £12.8 million, protecting around 6,000 properties.
Work in South Yorkshire is due to be complete by the end of March 2021. This work is part of a wider £32 million package of repair works across Yorkshire and part of the £120 million national investment to repair defences.
Around 1,600 properties were impacted by the November 2019 floods, with the majority in Bentley and Fishlake in Doncaster. 1,200 homes were evacuated and key road and rail infrastructure was also affected. Despite the river levels being similar to those back in the 2007, the damage to properties was less widespread, with 7,000 properties protected by flood defences.
Helen Batt, flood risk manager at the Environment Agency said:
The November 2019 floods had a devastating impact on communities in South Yorkshire, and the coronavirus pandemic only made it more difficult to recover.
Since then we have been working closely with all partners to reduce flood risk in the future, using a catchment-wide approach which uses nature-based solutions, as well as hard engineered flood defences, to help local communities be more resilient to flood risk and climate change. We are completing a programme of repairs to ensure that all flood defences will be restored by winter, or will have sufficient temporary measures in place.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:
The flooding we saw last November had a terrible impact on people’s lives.
The Environment Agency has been working to improve flood defences in and around Fishlake and Doncaster, and refurbish the Bentley Pumping Station. This is part of the government’s £120 million investment in flood recovery and repairs, and will help prepare the area for this winter. Families affected by last year’s flooding can still apply for £5,000 grants to help pay for repairs to make their homes more resilient for the future.
In the long term, we are taking the risk of flooding extremely seriously, investing a record £5.2 billion over six years in 2,000 new flood defences, and the Environment Agency is working with local representatives in South Yorkshire to ensure the area receives its share.
Works to improve flood defences in Fishlake, which was badly hit by the November 2019 floods, started last month. Repairs and improvements are being made to flood defence embankments and other flood defence structures in the village. This includes returning the embankments to their designed height, and making other improvements which will ensure the flood defences in the area are more resilient.
Work recently completed includes £2 million repairs to a 40 metre bank slip at Mile Thorn in the Wheatley Park area of Doncaster, which was badly damaged in the floods. Rock bags in engineered bays have been used to make the bank much more resistant to erosion.
In Bentley, an £14 million refurbishment project is underway to make improvements to Bentley Pumping Station, to help better protect 1,669 properties and 698 businesses.
In Sheffield, a major upgrade of the Sheaf screen in Sheffield city centre is underway. This trash screen is used to collect debris and reduce the risk of flooding to Sheffield city centre and a £3million project will improve the screen and replace the mechanical arm used to clear it.
The Environment Agency is ready to take action this winter wherever needed. As well as extensive flood defence repairs, high volume pumps are available and trained staff across the country are ready to respond around the clock. This is always part of a huge response effort, involving many partner organisations and our networks of community flood wardens who provide vital support during a flood.
One important thing you can do is to take 5 minutes to check your flood risk this winter. You can sign up for our free flood warning service and find out how you can be prepared.