Storm Dennis floods: More heavy rain falls and strong winds forecasted

20 February 2020

Britain is set to face further torrential rain this week, bringing more fear to flood-hit communities in South Yorkshire.

Nearly 300 flood warnings remain in place today, while a month’s worth of rain is expected to fall before the weekend. 

Sheffield City Center has spent £21 million on flood defence after suffering a repeat of the devastation during the 2007 floods. As the wind is expected to reach up to 65mph by tomorrow, other parts of the United Kingdom are struggling to cope in the wake of Storm Dennis.

Former head of Conservation in the EA, Alistair Driver, said in the Financial Times that protecting densely populated areas makes sense but such walls are “only going to make matters worse further downstream” for other areas. 

Traditional flood defences such as flood walls, barriers and overflow flood channels protect specific areas against rising flood waters. 

A resident from Doncaster has said that the new flood defences protect only one location by then channelling the water towards another. 

Doncaster Council reported a total cost of £650,000 to respond and deal with the flooding back in November.

Dr Liz Sharp, senior lecturer in Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield, suggests adopting the natural flood management (NFM) approach to ‘slow the flow of water’ down River Don alongside mainstream hard-engineering flood defence approaches. 

The NFM approach creates capacity for slowing and storing water with moorlands and floodplains, rather than moving it as quickly as possible. 

Bradfield parish archivist, Malcolm Nunn, who is an expert in the Great Sheffield Flood in 1964, said: “We need to maintain rivers by clearing rubble and tree trunks from the river bed and not build more houses on floodplains.

“Over the last 30 years, factories and houses have been built on what were floodplains. There is so much water coming down from the Peak District and the ground is already saturated with so much water.”

Written by Jeremy Lim

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