BARNSLEY will receive a share of a multi-million pound funding pot for critical flood prevention.
Sheffield City Region (SCR) Mayor and Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis, alongside council bosses, has secured £5.5m from the regional authority’s funds to go towards improving rail and road networks.
It’s hoped the government - which overlooked Barnsley in its own £5.2bn emergency fund earlier this year - will bolster the investment with a further £36m at its upcoming spending review.
The region’s combined authority has also received a pledge from the Environment Agency to include a further 26 out of 27 schemes in its future programme of works.
The plan, SCR bosses said, would save £1.7bn of future damage by protecting more than 10,000 homes.
“The impact of the floods goes beyond material and economic damage, it carries a human cost of lives disrupted, homes abandoned, futures made uncertain and full of hardship,” said Dan.
“There are still dozens of families who have not been able to return to their homes and are living in temporary accommodation following the 2019 floods.
“The dangers of flooding have not subsided, only last week, once again we saw the effects flooding has on whole communities with towns and villages flooded across Yorkshire.
“I’ve fought tirelessly for the Government to work with us to develop a plan which will keep the whole of South Yorkshire safe from a repeat of the devastation last winter.
“That’s why I’m pleased, that working with the four local authority leaders, we are aiming to bring forward nine shovel ready flood protection schemes as part of our wider Flooding Response Plan.
“We stand ready to deliver these nine flood protection schemes and will invest £5.5 million to protect our residents and businesses.
“We are putting our money where our mouth is - but now we need the Government to do the same at the Spending Review.”
In July, two projects in South Yorkshire - both in Sheffield - were given £16m from the government scheme, a fee deemed ‘wholly inadequate’.
Barnsley Council has set aside £1m of its own highways capital funding to repair drainage systems, which it hopes will reduce the amount of reactive work needed should the borough be hit by large-scale flooding as it was in November last year and February.
Since April, 3,300 road gullies have been inspected and 130 repairs have been scheduled.
According to the authority, 89 houses and 25 roads were hit in last year’s floods, notably in Darton, Low Valley and Lundwood - to the extent that some were unable to return to their properties 12 months after.
A ‘long-awaited’ flooding prevention meeting took place last month between Barnsley leaders and government ministers.
“We will continue to work closely with the four local authorities and the Environment Agency to deliver these schemes, and I am pleased that the majority of our 27 priority flood schemes are proposed for inclusion in the Environment Agency’s indicative future programme of works,” said Dan.
Coun Sir Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council, added: “It’s good news that Barnsley has been able to work with Mayor Dan Jarvis and the three other South Yorkshire authorities to invest money in the crucial schemes to protect our residents and businesses from the effects of flooding.
“We cannot underestimate how devastating flooding is to people’s homes, their lives, their businesses and their health and wellbeing.
“I urge the government to recognise this and match our commitment in order to get the works moving to protect the residents of both Barnsley and wider South Yorkshire.”