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Sheffield to trial flood resilience urban design strategy

Published: Thursday, 15th September 2016

Department for Environment and Rural Affairs to pilot flood defence strategy in Sheffield designed to “deliver, and be financed from the proceeds of, economic value for the local area”…

Sheffield has been chosen by the government to be a “guinea pig” to see if flood defence levels in all the core cities can be broadly similar to the position enjoyed by the capital.

Under consideration is whether urban areas can adopt the principle of building resilience into the design of their urban development and regeneration, in the process creating “additional social and economic value from flood defences”.

This initiative is highlighted in a report on National Flood Resilience produced by the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The department said it would be working with Sheffield “to enable the city to identify development of a type that will beautify the city-scape, unlock opportunities for urban regeneration and fit with local development priorities”.

Defra is putting together a group of senior business leaders and experts from a range of sectors and disciplines to help in this exercise.

The group will focus specifically on how to design new defences “which will deliver, and be financed from the proceeds of, economic value for the local area”.

The group will also consider international examples where significant economic value has been cited through flood defence schemes, such as in the Netherlands.

Nationally the government is promising:

  • £12.5m for new temporary defences, such as barriers and high volume pumps, at seven strategic locations around the country. By this winter, the Environment Agency (EA) will have four times more temporary barriers than last year
  • Utility companies’ commitment to increase flood protection of their key local infrastructure, such as phone networks and water treatment works, so they are resilient to extreme flooding
  • A new stress test of the risk of flooding from rivers and the sea in England. For the first time, Met Office forecasts of extreme rainfall scenarios will be linked with Environment Agency modelling to provide a new assessment of flood risk.


Roger Milne