Sheffield parks could be used as flood defences

Sheffield City Council is consulting on measures to prevent flooding in the city by letting water into the city's parks in an emergency.

Sheffield parks could be used as flood storage areas. Image: Pixabay
Sheffield parks could be used as flood storage areas. Image: Pixabay

Sheffield City Council is working with the Environment Agency, businesses, flood and environmental groups on an £83m investment programme to protect the city from flooding and avoid a repeat of the devastating Sheffield floods of 2007.

The council wants Sheffield protected against a 1 in 200-year flood event. Currently it is only protected against a 1 in 25-year event.

Among the proposals is a plan to designate Millhouses Park, Endcliffe Park and Coronation Park and some woodland areas as "flood storage areas", which would slow the flow of water and reduce the need for high flood defence walls downstream. The parks would be improved under the plans.

Other plans to "slow the flow" include rural land management techniques such as tree planting and moorland restoration. New landscape features would be built to capture and store water before allowing it to soak away. These will provide recreational space and wildlife habitat when not flooded.

Downstream, sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) would be used to manage storm water. Public spaces would be improved to help floodwater drain to the river safely and some underground sections of rivers would be reopened.

The council is consulting on the proposals to decide on the best combination of these features, as well as on plans to improve urban flood defences and river courses.

Cllr Bryan Lodge, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: "We all remember the 2007 floods that caused such devastation to the city and tragically the loss of two lives.

"Sheffield City Council is committed to protecting the city from flooding. As well as protecting the city's homes and businesses, we want to find solutions that transform Sheffield's waterways and even create future energy from them.

"Flood protection requires a mix of approaches. Doing less of one thing such as creating flood storage areas means we may need to do more of another, such as building higher walls.

"Some of these options are sensitive, including the temporary flooding of ancient woodland and changes to some of the city's parks which may include the removal of trees. But it's worth stressing that these are only options, no decisions have been made, and it's really important for people to have their say on how to protect the city from flooding in the future."

Lodge added that councillors understand the sensitivity of some of the parks and woodland locatioons that are being put forward.

"Where possible as part of our plans we're keen to also enhance Sheffield's wonderful parks for all-year round and we've put forward some ideas but we would welcome more suggestions."

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