Wednesday, September 1, 2021

News: £36m still needed to plug funding gap for flood schemes


Despite a number of schemes making it onto a national list of future flood alleviation investment, Rotherham Council has still estimated that there is a funding gap of £36.5m.

Rothbiz reported recently on the Government announcing that there would be £860m invested in 1,000 flood defence schemes this year as part of its Flood and Coastal Erosion Investment Plan.

A number of Rotherham schemes were included such as the the Rotherham Renaissance Flood Alleviation Scheme being down to receive an indicative contribution of £15.1m for 2021/22-2026/27. £488,060 is the Government's indicative investment to the scheme.

Other Rotherham schemes on the funding list include the Eel Mires Dike Flood Alleviation Scheme at Dinnington and Laughton Common (an indicative contribution of £1.45m) and Lake Outfall Pumping Station Refurbishment in the north of the borough (£725,000). Some Rother Washland Optimisation is also in line for funding.

Not on the list were Whiston Brook and Catcliffe.

Last year, it was identified that £51m was needed to implement all of the region's flood-related schemes and, despite the confirmed Government funding, there was still a £125m gap in the South Yorkshire Flooding Priority Programme.

An update to Rotherham Council's Improving Places Select Commission states that as at August 2021, £15.5m of funding has been secured against the overall £52m initial estimated cost, leaving an estimated funding gap of £36.5m.

Rotherham Council's six key schemes are:

- Rotherham to Kilnhurst Flood Alleviation Scheme (£24m)
- Parkgate & Rawmarsh FAS (£14m)
- Whiston Brook FAS at Whiston (£4m)
- Eel Mires Dike FAS at Laughton Common (£3m)
- Catcliffe permanent pumping station (£5m)
- Culvert renewal programme (£2m)

£5.8m of council funding is being used to get the projects "shovel ready" for when funding does come on stream. The most advanced are the Rotherham to Kilnhurst FAS and the Parkgate & Rawmarsh FAS. Pre-construction work could take until 2024.

£5.7m of the Council's Town Centre Investment Fund has been put towards flood projects in the area. Other sources of funding include the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) - £1.6m, Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority (Local Growth Funds) - £1.3m, Environment Agency - £0.7m, and Network Rail - £0.4m.

Upcoming phases around the town centre include flood defences at Ickles and a canal barrier is planned at Forge Island where the site of the former Tesco store is set to be home to an eight screen cinema, a 69 bed hotel, four restaurants and car parking.

A council report states: "Significant funding is needed to deliver the six priority FAS [flood alleviation scheme] projects to completion. To support that £5.8m of capital budget was approved by Council in March 2021, to enable all the priority FAS projects to be brought to a ‘shovel ready’ state, to support future investment in the schemes and provide certainty in terms of the work that is required and the detailed costs.

"The Council continues to ask Central Government for support in funding all six priority FAS projects to enable them to be completed."

Images: RMBC


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