Lower Don Valley Flood Defence project & Business Improvement District

We have worked with Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and the Environment Agency to develop a flood defence scheme for the Lower Don Valley (LDV).

The LDV is a critical economic area for Sheffield, second only to the city centre, but was devastated during the floods in 2007.

Scheme overview

The scheme involves improved defences at over 50 works locations along an 8km stretch of the River Don between the Wicker in the city centre and the M1 near Meadowhall.

It protects over 500 businesses and thousands of jobs, as well as ensuring that the LDV remains an attractive place for new investment and a great place to do business. 

In particular, improved flood protection should help businesses in the area secure flood risk insurance, and potentially at more competitive rates.

Budget and funding

The project budget of £21.4m was mainly financed by public funds, with a contribution of £1.4 million (less than 7%) from the private sector raised through the mechanism of a Business Improvement District (BID).

Business Improvement District (BID)

In December 2013, affected businesses voted in a ballot with a majority in favour of the BID proposal, with a turnout of 35% and a majority of 82% on the count of votes received, and a majority of 95% on the count of rateable value of those parties that voted.

The BID term is a period of 5 years which started in July 2014 and is due to end on 30th June 2019. 

Invoices for the fifth and final year’s BID levy instalment are issued to businesses in the middle of June 2018 for payment by the middle of July. 

These can be paid by any of the following options, whilst further details are available on the back of the bills:

  • Post Office
  • Pay Point
  • Telephone
  • Internet
  • Bacs

The support of the business community is key to the success of this project. 

BIDs are common in other towns and cities in England, however this is the first ever organised in Sheffield, and the first nationally for a capital build project.

Current progress

Following confirmation of a complete funding package at the beginning of 2014, we worked with appointed contractor, Carillion, and Environment Agency advisors to develop detailed designs for the various construction interventions, seeking wherever possible to ensure that new structures blend sensitively into their surrounding environments.

A total of 6 planning applications were approved for the scheme, and appointed environmental consultants, Ecus, provided advice to ensure the physical flood defence works minimised environmental impacts.

Construction of defences completed in January 2018. 

A coordinated emergency response service is also in place for all moveable defences installed throughout the LDV as part of this scheme.  This mainly involves gates and doors which must be closed in the event of a flood alert.  We have worked closely with the Environment Agency and Sheffield-Rotherham Emergency Planning Team to develop a robust and reliable procedure.

Complementary to the physical defence measures, we have also sought to establish a comprehensive and long term regime of channel maintenance.  This crucial regime includes management of low quality crack willow trees which frequently fall into the channel causing blockages and resulting in flooding; treatment of invasive species which undermine defence structures; and collection of litter which very quickly spoils the quality of the public amenity in such a dynamic natural environment.

The River Stewardship Company (RSC) were appointed in July 2014 to carry out an initial pilot feasibility study for an 18 month period. This study confirmed the scope of works, informing a competitive tender process for an ongoing contract through to June 2019, which the RSC were once again successful in securing.

This work is carried out by trained experts, but also notably a dedicated team of volunteers, providing opportunities for skill development, employment and social inclusion.

Further information

More information on all elements of the LDV scheme is available through the project website .  As well as relevant plans and explanatory documents, you will also find latest news and guidance for businesses negotiating flood insurance terms with their providers.