Low Valley flood fears on rise again

FLOOD wall campaigners at Low Valley fear their funding for vital defences may have fallen through.

It was recently revealed that only 356 of 630 flood defence projects that were to receive government cash this year will now do so.

It was recently revealed that only 356 of 630 flood defence projects that were to receive government cash this year will now do so.

River Dove flood warden Pete Bradshaw, of Stonyford Road, said: “We have a big new school being built on our doorsteps that we feel will increase the flood risk, and now work has started on a new bridge to replace the old one at Darfield Main.

“This will alter the structure of the river and we need convincing that that too will not adversely affect the flooding situation.

“As yet we have no confirmation about future flood defence work and that is our only hope. We have asked for a full update on where we stand and are planning a meeting as soon as possible with Barnsley Council floods officer Ian Bell and the Environment Agency”.

Meanwhile, work is expected to begin on roadworks and a new footbridge at the Netherwood pond site. Three roads, Bradberry Balk lane, Netherwood Road and Pitt Street will be closed for three weeks from February 21 to allow that process to take place.

“It’s a joke,” said Mr Bradshaw. “It makes no sense as that area is constantly under water in the winter. During the recent rainfall, for three out of four days it was impossible to work there”.

Residents are struggling currently from works traffic for the new school on the old Darfield pit site. The latest diversion that directs traffic along George Street, Stonyford Road, Station Road and Mitchells Way will make life unbearable, they claim, particularly on Stonyford Road where there is a primary school.

Low Valley campaigners join others who live beside the River Dearne at Darfield in their plea for improved defences. Both bands of residents were under up to five feet of water in the 2007 floods - and are still struggling to recover.

Members of the Know Your Flood Risk campaign say there is serious concern that not enough is being done about increasing flood risk, with just 356 of 1500 projects tabled until 2015 to receive capital funding in the next year.

Campaign Chief Executive Mary Dhonau said: “Statistics show that for every pound spent on defending against flooding, at least six pounds is saved to the economy. The summer 2007 floods cost £3.2 billion and flooding is becoming ever more frequent, therefore it is clear that cutting funding is a false economy, especially when the government is looking to make billions of pounds of savings.

“The government should be looking at offering grants to those who have lost because of the cuts, so that they can take measures to protect their homes, to give them hope that they will not have to deal with the financial and emotional aftermath of flooding.”

James Sherwood-Rogers, Chair of the campaign, added: “Although the government has taken steps to bolster flood defences and put a flood defence strategy in place, it is simply not enough. The government’s plan to spend at least £2.1bn by 2015 on flood defences falls woefully short of the investment needed to protect households and businesses, especially in light of the Environment Agency’s estimate in 2009 that £1bn a year needed to be spent over 25 years just to maintain the existing level of protection”.