WORKSOP FLOODING: Council chiefs call on Government to honour £11m in promised flood defences

Leaders at Bassetlaw District Council are calling on cash to prevent flooding promised by the Government to be honoured in the wake of Storm Babet.
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Communities in Worksop, Retford and across Bassetlaw were left decimated by heavy flooding last Friday and over the weekend – with the council able to distribute slightly more than 3.000 sandbags from its own exhausted supplies – with vulnerable residents being prioritised.

Nottinghamshire Council also distributes sandbags around the county, but was ‘left stretched’ with the scale of the flooding and the majority of districts and boroughs also screaming for supplies.

Council leaders are now calling on the Government to honour the £11.7m promised by the Government to improve flood defences in Worksop and Bassetlaw, saying that, to date, no single project has been green-lit.

The River Ryton at the height of the flooding.The River Ryton at the height of the flooding.
The River Ryton at the height of the flooding.

Councillor Darrell Pulk, Cabinet Member for Environment and Energy at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “We understand the frustration and distress that residents are feeling and are working hard on the clean-up efforts across Bassetlaw.

"This includes placing people in temporary accommodation; clearing previously-flooded streets of debris and detritus; helping remove flood-damaged items from properties; and providing business support where it is needed. We are also looking at a range of ongoing support options for impacted families.

“Bassetlaw District Council holds its own limited resources, and our Community Resilience Stores helped to distribute 3,165 sandbags and aqua-sacs in Worksop on Friday afternoon and evening. However, the scale of the rain, which has caused devastation across the region as well as in Bassetlaw, meant that we were unable to seek support from neighbouring authorities.

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“As the lead flood authority, Nottinghamshire County Council also distributes sandbags to affected areas which, on this occasion, included the whole county which meant resources were stretched. As the County Council’s website notes, sandbags are not guaranteed and typically reserved for vulnerable residents who are unable to provide their own.

Councillors have repeatedly lobbied for substantial flood protection investment in Retford and Worksop.

"In 2021, the Government promised £11.7m of investment but we are yet to see any projects approved and initiated in Retford or Worksop since that announcement.

"This inaction is to the obvious detriment of Bassetlaw residents and we are calling on ministers and the Environment Agency to work with us so that flood alleviation schemes can be put in place as soon as possible. The repeated personal impact of flooding must be recognised.”

Councillor Jo White, deputy leader and Larbour’s Parliamentary hopeful said: ““I have emailed the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Therese Coffey, calling for the flood alleviation schemes that have already been devised for Retford and Worksop to be fully funded and for the work to be urgently started. These works should have happened already.”

Speaking on a visit to Retford on Sunday, Ms Coffey MP said: “It just so happens I’m due to be meeting the chief executive of the Environment Agency to go through where we are in our programme.

“Between 2015/21 we have spent £2.6 billion of taxpayers’ money on flood defences that affects over 300,000 homes across the country.”

She added a further £5.6 billion has now been allocated over the next six years, providing around 2,000 new defence schemes to better protect a further 336,000 properties.