Sheffield Cabinet Approves Ambitious Flood Plans

Part of my job is to make sure Sheffield’s rivers are clean, that Sheffield is protected from flooding and that our city is ready for emergencies (see here).

 

So it’s really good for Sheffield that plans to protect our city from the risk of serious flooding have received the green light.

A blueprint was drawn up in the wake of the devastating floods of the summer of 2007 – and on other occasions since defences have been stretched to the limit.

The city council has been working closely with the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water to reduce the risk of similar problems in the future.

There’s been work too in communities where the risk of flooding is greatest to put contingency plans into place and support them at times of danger.

Flood wardens have been trained by the Environment Agency to improve communications locally and to help coordinate the strategy.

There has been work to widen and de-silt many of the city’s rivers and the council has been working with Yorkshire Water on the management of peak river flows further upstream.

The end result of all the work is the Flood Risk Management Strategy for Sheffield, published following wide-ranging consultations with local people, organisations and businesses.

The aim of the strategy is to ensure the city targets the main problem areas and that resources are being used to the best effect.

Sheffield is a city of rivers and this is really important for our environment. Because of this we also know there is a risk of flooding.

As the effects of climate change become more apparent, we are likely to see more flooding, so we need to take action.

We want to minimise the impact of flooding on Sheffield people and businesses and also take the opportunity to improve the city’s environment.”

The plan was approved by Sheffield’s Cabinet on Wednesday. You can read a copy of the report.

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Labour’s Support for Small Businesses

Families in Sheffield are facing a cost of living crisis with prices rising faster than wages for 39 out of the last 40 months, more people than ever are working part-time because they can’t get enough hours to work full-time and energy bills having gone up by an average of £300 since David Cameron became Prime Minster.Image

Small independent businesses in Sheffield are also struggling. Local people keep them going because they know they form a vital part of our high street and our community. But small businesses are facing their own version of the cost of living crisis – a cost of doing business crisis.

Shops and small businesses across the country are due to see their business rates increase by an average of £430 from next April, at a total cost to businesses of £700 million.

Small business owners face a stark choice: either pass these business rate increases on to their customers through higher prices – adding to the cost of living crisis for hard-working families – or face a further squeeze until they can no longer afford to stay in business.

Families and small businesses need help to see them through these tough times. That’s why a Labour Government would cut business rates for small and medium businesses in 2015 and freeze them in 2016. This move would mean an average saving of nearly £450 for 1.5 million business properties and would be paid for by not going ahead with the Tories’ plans for an additional Corporation Tax cut for just 80,000 large companies.

The living standards crisis is hitting businesses as well their customers. Many small businesses report that energy bills are the second biggest cost they face after rates and our pledge to freeze energy prices for 20 months until January 2017 will save small businesses an average of £1,800.

Labour would also give local people more power to shape the town centre by working with local businesses, Business Improvement Districts and others to make the high street a more vibrant place.

Most of the jobs in the future will be created by a large number of small businesses which is why they need our support; so they can continue to create jobs and lead the economic recovery both in Sheffield and across the country.

Labour is the party of small business. Our plans will make a real difference for small firms, benefit ordinary consumers when they’re doing the weekly shop and also benefit our community through more local jobs.