PREVENTING repeats of last year’s devastating floods cannot be allowed to drop off the Government’s agenda, RMBC leader Chris Read has said.
Rotherham Council had asked twice for a £52 million defence fund comprising eight major projects across the borough.
Nearly 50 Rotherham families were evacuated from homes last November.
Kilnhurst Primary School, which also suffered in 2007, was flooded again and classes are not expected to move back there until the new year.
Cllr Read (left) and other leaders from the region called again for the Government support during a flood summit with environment secretary George Eustice last Thursday.
“The council, the businesses and the people of Rotherham certainly haven’t forgotten the suffering caused by last November’s floods and we need to ensure the Government isn’t allowed to forget either,” said the RMBC boss.
“The council has delivered 40 small scale flood alleviation schemes since November 2019 to reduce the flood risk to roads, residential and commercial properties.
“But we know that is just a sticking plaster compared to the major investment that is required to properly protect our borough.”
During the summit, John Healey said Kilnhurst Primary had been promised protection after it was first flooded — but extra funds for defences were cut by a fifth in 2010.
The Wentworth and Dearne MP and former floods minister called for such places with repeated flood troubles to be prioritised.
Mr Eustice agreed — saying: “There should be weighting given to previously flooded areas.”
The Sheffield City Region as a whole is asking for £271 million for 27 schemes.
Rotherham projects include the town centre, Eel Mires Dike at Laughton Common, Whiston Brook, Kilnhurst, Parkgate and Rawmarsh.
“This is essential if we are going to be able to protect homes and support economic infrastructure and businesses across Rotherham in the future,” said Cllr Read.
“We’re grateful for the Ministers time and that they have been prepared to listen, but this has to be backed up with action and funding for these schemes. Without it, a repeat of the flooding seen in November 2019 is inevitable.”