BARNSLEY areas urgently requiring anti-flooding measures could fall short of cash - placing vital schemes earmarked for the town in jeopardy unless more money is found.
Following widespread floods in November 2019 and February last year, Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis - who is also the MP for Barnsley Central - and the council jointly submitted a business infrastructure programme for South Yorkshire with an investment ask of £271m to protect businesses and homes.
Schemes outlined for Barnsley included Lundwood, a borough-wide culvert improvement programme on the Dearne and Dove rivers, work on Worsbrough Reservoir and Church Street, Darton, through the government’s Grant in Aid (GiA) programme.
But Garreth Bruff, senior programme manager at Sheffield City Region, warned some are at risk of being scrapped - unless more cash is found.
“Restrictions placed on the way GiA is calculated for individual flood schemes will mean that many will not be fully funded through government investment, meaning that wider partnership funding will need to be sought,” he said.
“This shortcoming has been the subject of lobbying by the mayor and council leaders over the summer.
“It leaves many other schemes with additional funding requirements before they can be fully implemented.
“Latest analysis suggests that even with the allocation of GiA - to be confirmed early this year - priority programmes are likely to have a remaining cumulative funding gap of around £125m in total.
“We need to work to reassure our residents and businesses that everything possible is being done to prevent the devastating floods of 2007 and 2019 happening again.”
Local MPs are working alongside Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in a bid to force change - and protect residents whose homes were ruined.
Grants of £5,000 were promised by the government to people whose homes and businesses were affected by floods, but some have still not received cash and have been involved in long-running wrangles with insurance companies.
Dan added: “We’ll be continuing to campaign for the government to deliver the remaining funding we need to deliver our full flooding response plan.
“The impact of further winter flooding on those who have already suffered so much would be unimaginable, that’s why we’re doing everything we can to upgrade our flood defences and improve our flood resilience.
“It goes beyond material and economic damage, it carries a human cost of lives disrupted, homes abandoned, futures made uncertain and full of hardship.
“There are still dozens of families who have not been able to return to their homes and are living in temporary accommodation following the most recent floods.
“We need the government to work with us to make it happen.”
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Vital anti-flood schemes at risk due to lack of cash
Author: Josh Timlin
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