Doncaster flood defences 'winter ready' but not complete until next year

Environment Agency officials say Doncaster’s flood defences are ‘winter ready’ – but not complete.

By David Kessen
Thursday, 5th November 2020, 12:30 pm

A year on from the floods which devastated parts of Doncaster, officials say work will only be finished in March.

It has stated: “We aim to have our recovery works to be complete by end of March 2021. Our flood defences were ‘winter ready’ by end of October 2020, protecting local communities as we go into the winter months.”

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.

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Fishlake near Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Pictured Flood defence construction work along the banks of the River Don.

“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 £12.8 million programme of repairs to ensure that all flood defences will be restored by winter, or will have sufficient temporary measures in place.”

The agency has checked 650km of flood embankments across South Yorkshire and identified over 100 repairs needed.

It says it has continued work to improve local flood defences, including those in Fishlake, and over 50 of the sites in its recovery programme of works are in the Lower Don catchment, which runs through Doncaster.

Its programme includes permanent repairs and solutions as well as temporary defences to ensure Doncaster is ready for winter. It includes £2 million repairs to a 40 metre bank slip at Mile Thorn in the Wheatley Park.

Repairs at Fishlake include returning the embankments to their designed height, and making other improvements to make flood defences more resilient going forward.

The agency says it will continue to inspect the temporary defences regularly until the permanent repairs are complete, and in advance of forecast high river levels.

Experts say 2019 was the wettest autumn on record. Doncaster had a month’s rainfall in just one day.

There were 47 flood warnings and alerts issued across Doncaster. Seven of these were severe flood warnings, meaning there was significant ‘danger to life’, with areas badly affected by flooding from rivers and surface water.

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