MILLIONS of pounds will be pumped into flood prevention schemes in Barnsley in a bid to avoid a repeat of ‘devastating’ floods which swamped the town in 2019, the Chronicle can reveal.
Councillors will be briefed on completed and forthcoming work across the borough following the floods which affected more than 100 homes and businesses along the River Dearne and Dove in areas such as Darton, Low Valley, Wombwell and Lundwood.
On November 7, 2019, persistent rain fell for approximately 24 hours and had ‘devastating’ effects on communities.
The incident was estimated as a ‘one in a 150-year event’, but Barnsley was again sodden just three months later.
Met Office figures reveal the three-month period for the River Dearne catchment was the wettest since 1891, which sparked multi-agency work involving Barnsley Council, Yorkshire Water, MP Dan Jarvis and the Environment Agency.
A report - which will be discussed by overview and scrutiny board members on Tuesday - accepts that recovery activities took a hit due to the pandemic, but a ‘significant’ amount of work has already been achieved.
It said: “The Met Office reported South Yorkshire as the wettest county across the country in autumn 2019, with more than double its average rainfall for the season at 425.4mm compared to an average of 208mm.
“Following the November 2019 floods, the Sheffield City Region Mayor and Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis and the council leader jointly submitted a programme to protect businesses and thousands of homes.
“The programme was shaped by lessons learned from flooding in November and was designed to invest in new infrastructure and natural flood management measures to mitigate this type of flood event.”
Barnsley Council identified a number of high-risk locations following the floods and a number of plans and schemes were created as a result.
The £1m Lundwood flood alleviation scheme (FAS), Bulling Dike in Low Valley and the £6m Barnsley culvert replacement programme have all been identified as key priorities for the council, with funding yet to be decided on for schemes at Worsbrough Reservoir and Church Street, Darton.
“The local authority had previously carried out a number of proactive steps to protect properties including the installation of 282 flood vents, 25 door guards and 15 waste pipe locks following the floods of 2007, all of which offer a level of protection for internal areas,” the report added.
“As a follow-up, in June 2020, 70 properties on Lang Avenue, Lundwood - previously affected by flooding - were visited to check that the property flood defences installed continued to be fully functional and identify any further works required.
“The scheme is also part of Barnsley’s programme put forward to the Environment Agency for a grant funding contribution in the medium-term plan which was finalised in March 2021.”
Barnsley Council remain responsible for managing flood risk across the borough from surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses.
However, the Environment Agency is responsible for managing flood risk relating to rivers and streams and Yorkshire Water is responsible for cracked or burst water pipes and public sewers.
“Flooding in Barnsley has affected people from a range of communities, ages and backgrounds,” the report said.
“However, long-term impacts are exacerbated by pre-existing disadvantages, for example health problems, isolation and poverty.
“Flooding also has a significant impact on public health.
“The November floods generated a number of physical risks for people, from the direct risk of the incident itself to the contamination risk associated with clean-up activities.
“It’s therefore crucial that focus remains on flood recovery and mitigation works to minimise the risks of significant future flooding and secure improved health and wellbeing outcomes for the residents of Barnsley.”
Dan told the Chronicle flood work was essential to residents and businesses.
“Throughout my time as the local MP, I have been working hard to deliver a long-term, sustainable solution to the very long-running issue of flooding in the street - made ever more urgent by the devastating floods of November 2019.
“I have secured significant resources from national government to invest in our region’s flood defences and I am continuing to press central government to fund more.
“It is welcome to see that the multi-agency partnership is working effectively and that transformative flood defence and mitigation work is being delivered on the ground.”