An environmental expert has branded Sheffield Council’s flood prevention plan a waste of money likely to damage local heritage and ecology.
Professor Ian D Rotherham, an environmental expert at Sheffield Hallam University, said the proposed engineering would have a detrimental impact on local heritage, ecology and tourism.
A council committee will hear the progress report of the £100m plus project, updated from £83m, today in a meeting where locals and campaigners are planning to voice their concerns.
Prof Rotherham (pictured above) said the city needed a soft landscape approach and the planners needed to think more long-term.
“I think something needs to be done about flood-proofing the city, [but] I don’t think this is it. This is what I describe as working against the grain of nature rather than with the grain of nature.
“I think it has a negative impact and appears to be completely misconceived, ill-founded and an enormous waste of money.”
The scheme will invest in the city’s flood and drainage infrastructure. It aims to protect communities by supporting commercial and housing growth in the city’s main river valleys.
Sheffield has suffered severe damages due to flooding in past years. Two people had died and many faced evacuation from their homes in the 2007 floods. Parts of the city were flooded again in 2009 with water levels nearly reaching 5ft in some areas.
Meadowhall Road flooded in 2007
Heritage experts and environmentalists have argued it is important to prevent flooding, but care should be taken to protect historical structures and wildlife within the city.
Graham Appleby, 61, chairman of the Rivelin Valley Conservation Group, said the proposed Roscoe flood storage area (FSA) in Rivelin will disrupt the nature and could affect the archaeological remains of old mills in the area.
“We said to them in the beginning that you need to do more investigation as this will devastate the local nature, species of birds and animals, and make access to Rivelin Valley difficult.” He also said it is possible the construction might damage several allotments in the area.
Joy Bullivant, a heritage campaigner, said the Roscoe FSA would have a negative impact on tourism by damaging the ancient woodlands and industrial structures in the area.
“It’s quite a complex issue and we don’t think the council knows that,” she said.
Councillor Bryan Lodge, the Cabinet Member for Environment and Streetscene, could not be reached for a comment despite repeated attempts by JUS News.