Council leaders call for long term solution to flooding along River Severn

Telford & Wrekin Council and Shropshire Council are urging the Secretary of State for the Environment George Eustice for emergency funding to support the councils’ response to this month’s floods that have hit both areas.

This follows a visit by the Secretary of State to Ironbridge and Shrewsbury following floods in February 2020, which he described as a once in a century event.

But this week’s floods have been at least as bad as 2020’s, with some river levels higher and hundreds of homes and businesses flooded for at least the third time in three years.

Shropshire has in fact seen three of the five worst ever recorded flood events since 2020.

In a letter to the Secretary of State the councils’ leaders say that the floods are placing a huge amount of stress and pressure on to residents, businesses and communities alike and that the situation is unsustainable.

Cllrs Shaun Davies, Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council and Lezley Picton leader of Shropshire Council have called for urgent action to provide both short term and long term solutions.

They say, for example, further grants from Government would allow more properties affected to install flood resilience measures that can lessen the impact and better support for the communities along the River Severn.  

Cllr Davies said: “We need to see changes to the local government funding formula to support both our role as Lead Local Flood Agencies and allow us to support investment in flood defences to recognise rural need, heritage, history and tourism. The Ironbridge Gorge is the only World Heritage Site in the West Midlands area and we need to find a more permanent solution to protect it.

“We need an urgent River Severn conference, with Government ministers and all interested partners and representatives of key stakeholders, to put plans in place that will stop this annual cycle of misery for our residents and businesses.” 

Cllr Picton said: “Flooding is becoming the new normal, so our residents and businesses need to be more protected and better prepared. It is not only emergency funding that is needed. Of the 80 Severe Flood Alerts recently issued, 44 applied to the River Severn, 60 miles of which flow through Shropshire.  We need Government to support our efforts and develop a much-needed long-term solution.

“We are actively working with the River Severn Partnership and with the Environment Agency to develop a range of strategies, however we do need Government to commit to work with us and find solutions that can mitigate the devastating effects of the flooding we now so regularly experience.”