Catchment plan launched to respond to the flood risk and climate emergency in South Yorkshire

Connected by water - A South Yorkshire Alliance
Connected by water - A South Yorkshire Alliance

Senior stakeholders and partners across South Yorkshire have launched a new plan in response to flood risk and the climate emergency on a catchment scale.

The Connected by Water Action Plan was unveiled at a virtual event by South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis MP and includes 100 projects, with a total investment of £400 million, to better protect over 17,000 homes, businesses, and regionally significant infrastructure across South Yorkshire.

These projects include: 27 priority projects valued at £257 million, better protecting 10,000 homes, and 9 ‘shovel ready’ projects valued at £63 million to better protect 1,400 homes.

Following one of the wettest autumns on record and the resulting devastating floods of November 2019, partners across South Yorkshire have been working together with an ambition to reduce flood risk and build climate resilience so that communities can live, work, and thrive in area in the face of a changing climate.

Since November 2019, a partnership of organisations including the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, Environment Agency, Barnsley Council, Doncaster Council, Rotherham Council, Sheffield City Council, and Yorkshire Water, have been working not only to deliver flood risk management schemes on the ground, but also to plan catchment-wide measures for the future to help meet the challenges of climate change.

Rotherham’s six Priority Flood Alleviation Schemes are:

  • Rotherham to Kilnhurst Flood Alleviation Scheme
  • Parkgate & Rawmarsh  Flood Alleviation Scheme
  • Whiston Brook Flood Alleviation Scheme
  • Eel Mires Dike Flood Alleviation Scheme at Laughton Common
  • Catcliffe Permanent Pumping Station
  • Culvert Renewal Programme

Rotherham’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, Cllr Dominic Beck, said: “Rotherham Council recognises that flooding poses one of the greatest risks to the borough and it has already allocated £5.8million of its own capital funding to get 6 priority schemes to a “Shovel Ready” status.

“This funding will be used over the next 3 years to work closely with landowners and stakeholders, to develop engineering design solutions and submit planning applications. The Team are currently seeking funding opportunities to deliver the projects following the pre-construction design.”

During the November 2019 floods, communities were evacuated from their homes, precious belongings ruined, businesses devastated, infrastructure severely disrupted and people unable to return to their homes for many months. As the flood water subsided, communities, businesses and senior leaders asked how the risk and impact of flooding across the region could be reduced.


Floods Minister, Rebecca Pow, said: “This plan is a crucial step forward in improving the climate resilience of communities across South Yorkshire, which I hope will avoid a repeat of the devastating impact the November 2019 flooding had on people and businesses across the region.  

“Aided through more than £110 million in government funding, this plan is part of our record £5.2 billion investment over the next six years to better protect 336,000 properties across England and build on the 66,000 homes in Yorkshire already better protected since 2015.”

South Yorkshire Mayor, Dan Jarvis MP, said: “After the devastating floods across South Yorkshire, I fought for government funding to protect us from a repeat of the scenes we saw in 2019 – securing £80m which has helped towards the launch of today’s flood catchment plan to protect the region.  

“This ‘living plan’ will continue to evolve based on what we learn over the coming months and years, but it will always ensure that we protect homes and businesses across South Yorkshire from the devastating impact of flooding.

“A key part of this is using natural solutions to cut flood risk, like tree planting and land management, because it doesn’t just tackle flooding, it helps with nature recovery and gets us closer to our target of Net Zero carbon emissions by 2040 at the latest. Climate change is leading to increased rainfall and rising sea levels which hugely increase flood risks, but by introducing nature-based solutions to the mix we can break the cycle.”

The plan also highlights new collaborations such as the Source to Sea Nature Based Solution Programme, comprising three projects across the upper, lower, and middle Don to implement a range of natural solutions to slow the flow and create more space for water.

The South Yorkshire Investment Tool is also being developed to bring together flood risk data and evidence across the region, to inform future investment in flood risk management, and ensure investment is targeted to where it will bring the most benefits.

An online public consultation is being launched at the event, as one of the aims is to work with communities to deliver the plan. People will have the opportunity to view the plan in full and give their comments by accessing it online. The consultation will be open until 11th March. 

Published: 28th January 2022