Doncaster Council boss calls for changes to flood funding criteria as town faces 'fighting battle' for adequate resources

Doncaster has a flood defence funding gap of up to £20 million as the council try and tackle 57 different schemes in order to avert another significant weather event.

Monday, 18th October 2021, 11:34 pm
Members of the Fire and Rescue service evacuate an elderly resident to dry land, from a flooded house in Bentley in 2019

Paul Evans, flood risk and drainage manager at DMBC told councillors that the funding arrangements from central government through the Environment Agency needed to change.

He said that Doncaster could be losing out as criteria for funding means because the borough has defences already, it might not get enough funding for the works needed across the borough.

Mr Evans said that the River Don still has a profile of flooding from a big storm event in one in 150 years – despite the Don bursting its banks twice in 12 years.

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The council has identified 57 works that need to be carried out but Mr Evans said some of the projects could take as long as six years to complete. But the council are planning to consolidate some works along the same watercourses so they’re better value for money and take less time to complete.

Mr Evans said: “At the moment it stands that we’ve got something like a £14 million to 20 million funding gap that we need to address so that we can get most of these schemes off the ground.

“There’s various ways we can get that money through, if we get them into food alleviation schemes that will help but the problem we’ve got in Doncaster is the higher the probability you get before you get flooded, the less benefits you can actually achieve with government funding.

“So if we’ve got a one in 100, or one in 200 chance, we’re already at a low probability of flooding, even though the lower the risk is severe, it is still a lower risk. So we then faced problems with funding over areas that might have no protection, that they will get the full allocation.

“We might only get a percentage of that allocation because we’re already protected over a certain level.

“If you look at the average protection across the country, it’s about one in 80 to one in 100 year storm events. In Doncaster, the most it’s been on the River Don is still a one in 150 years so we’re already fighting a battle to get funding from central government.

“We’re getting far too many of these big events on a more frequent basis than we should. That’s my professional opinion. I think we need the government to look at how this funding is addressed.”

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