Flood resilience in a regeneration area provides a wetland nature park

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

June 2010

  • UK
  • Built environment
  • Flooding

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council worked with partners to provide greater flood protection, biodiversity and adaptive capacity for future climate change within the town.

Main messages

Build effective partnerships with funders and delivery teams, and look for opportunities to create new areas for regeneration and environmental improvement.

Identify the options and risks early and deal with them as soon as you can otherwise they will cause more difficulty if they need to be addressed on the critical path of project delivery.

In detail


  • Flooding in 2000 and in June 2007 which affected a successful brown field Regeneration Area.
  • Rotherham Renaissance regeneration project; focus around the River Don.
  • NI188 / NI189.

Main players & partners

  • Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Yorkshire Forward
  • Environment Agency
  • Sheffield Rotherham Wildlife Trust
  • Interreg VALUE and MARE project
  • Jacobs Design (project management)
  • Volker Stevin (contractor)


The Council led the proposal, and worked in partnership with the funding partners, the community and landowners.

The first phase was a flood compensation area which provides 1 in 100 annual probability of river flooding protection which was delivered in a partnership between Rotherham MBC, the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Forward Renaissance, costing £14.9 million.

Structures were designed with adaptive capacity for future climate change, to be stable at all water levels, with a defence overtopped case and freeboard allowance and are capable of being raised further without the need to modify foundations. It will be maintained by the Environment Agency.

Process involved analysis using the Environment Agency’s hydrology models, options appraisal, and then the creation of a funding business case, before procuring design and construction partners.

Council then worked with Sheffield Rotherham Wildlife Trust to create a wetland nature park including wildflower meadows, woodland and ponds helps protect the town from flooding. Riverside walkways enable the public to access the area, from which they were previously excluded.

Project was funded by RMBC, ERDF, Yorkshire Forward and EA Yorkshire Regional Flood Defence Committee and Interreg VALUE through South Yorkshire Forest, Natural England, and landfill tax credits from WREN, Biffa and the SITA Trust.

Recognising the need to manage water and flood risk at a catchment level, the nine local authorities in the Don Catchment area, with Yorkshire Water, the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Forward have set up an Action Alliance to identify common working on water and flood risk.

This is one part of the MARE project (Managing Adaptive Responses to changing flood risk) an Interreg North Sea Region supported project.


Rotherham Renaissance (phase 1) has protected an area of 30 hectares of existing commercial development, brownfield development land and rail and road infrastructure from future flooding, safeguarding 70 businesses and over 1,000 jobs. Phase 2 is expected to provide similar protection to the remaining 2 km of the Town Centre.

The nature park has improved the town’s resilience to flooding, and provided valuable natural spaces for wildlife, recreation, education and business.

The scheme features as a case study of good practice within the Planning Policy Statement 25 and is the winner of the Flood Risk Management category of the BURA Waterways Renaissance Awards 2010 and Commended in the Natural Environment Category.



  • Partnership working has been critical to managing and delivering this complex scheme to date.
  • Combining regeneration, biodiversity and adaptation agendas has provided better outcomes for all.


Complex engineering and land ownership issues have proved challenging, but have been overcome through collaborative work with the Environment Agency, landowners and contractors (Jacobs Design and Project management and Volker Stevin main contractor.)

Developing the funding business case was also complex as it involved funding from two major sources – Yorkshire Forward and Objective 1 funding.