Thieves steal flood defences

Thieves scavenging metal to sell for scrap have targeted vital flood defences in Doncaster twice in a month.

Essential parts were stolen from Bentley Ings pumping station, which drains a large part of the town.

The Environment Agency has beefed up security at the pumping station since the latest theft this week but on each occasion repairing the damage and replacing the stolen components has been an expensive job.

“On both occasions it was lucky that the damage did not interfere with the running of the pumping station,” said the EA’s Paul Walton.

“If the pumping station was out of action when the River Don was in flood this could put many hundreds of properties at risk of flooding.”

Improvements to the pumping station were completed last year as part of a package of work worth in the Doncaster area worth almost £2 million to reduce flood risk for more than 3,000 properties.

As part of a wider programme to protect vital infrastructure the Environment Agency raised the height of the power supply to the pumping station by more than two metres to ensure pumping can be maintained in higher water levels.

In June 2007 floodwater cut off the power to Bentley Ings pumping station during extreme weather.

On 25 June 2007, about 80mm rain fell in 16 hours over parts of South Yorkshire, causing surface water and river flooding.

Water levels in the River Don were the highest ever recorded, flowing over some defences and damaging several older structures, and many of the area’s washlands were filled to capacity.

Sam Bond

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