Businesses in the Lower Don Valley are backing plans to install multi-million pound flood defences in the area.
The plans involve the construction of new flood walls, installation of flood gates and clearing and maintaining the River Don across an 8km stretch from the city centre to Blackburn Brook.
Work will ensure an adequate standard of protection to businesses in the area against a minimum of a 1 in 100 year event.
Sheffield Chamber is working to raise awareness of the plans, which require financial support from businesses within the designated at risk area around the River Don.
They are working in partnership with Sheffield City Council which is leading on the technical feasibility, public funding applications and project management.
The majority of the £7.2m funding is being sought from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), with £1.4m required from local businesses through a Business Improvement District (BID)
A BID would see affected companies making a small percentage payment calculated on their rateable value over a period of five years. This has to be approved by a majority of businesses affected by the plans through a ballot, which is expected to take place in July.
Businesses of all sizes are currently being consulted on the proposals and the BID with the Sheffield Chamber and City Council. So far, more than 40 businesses have attended a series of meetings at the Chamber about the scheme.
Also, a steering group, made up of a dozen businesses across the Lower Don Valley, has been discussing defences for more than two years following the devastating floods in 2007.
Andy Gull, environmental manager at Gripple said:
“We are fully behind the scheme as we believe flood defences are very important and, in some cases, vital to businesses in the area. With significant funding available a combined project like this is unlikely to happen again so it is imperative we take this opportunity now.”
Steve Riley, associate director and principal civil engineer at Wardell Armstrong, said:
“Our considerable experience of flood risk engineering has convinced us there is no substitute for robust physical defences such as those which will be constructed under the project.
“Once the river walls have been raised and strengthened, vital industry in the valley will be protected from severe fluvial flood events.”
Victoria Hinchcliffe, group environment director at Sheffield Forgemasters, said:
“Flooding continues to pose a risk to businesses and infrastructure throughout the Lower Don Valley and is an obstacle in the way of the area meeting its full development potential.
“The flood defence protect is a fantastic opportunity to deliver robust, valley wide protection against the majority of significant flooding events.
“With the support of Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and the Environment Agency, we recognise that this is a one-off possibility to be able to deliver this scheme in a way that significantly minimises the financial and resource impacts on businesses and costs are allocated in a fair way.”
For more information about the flood defences proposals for the Lower Don Valley, please visit the projects page on the Sheffield Chamber website. www.scci.org.uk/home/projects/sheffield-lower-don-valley-flood-defence-project
The Lower Don Valley flood defences steering group meet on a regular basis to discuss the proposals with the Sheffield Chamber and City Council. Any business wishing to attend should email firstname.lastname@example.org.