Council urge government to invest in flood protection to stop annual cycle of misery
Councillors at Telford & Wrekin Council have agreed to urge Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State for the Environment to fund better protection from flooding on the River Severn.
At a Full Council meeting on 19 January 2023, a motion calling on the government to fund improved flood defences for Ironbridge and to support areas across the borough who suffer from repeat flooding issues was put forward by Councillor Carolyn Healy, Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Green Spaces, Natural and Historic Environment and Cultural Services.
The motion also urged the government to urgently implement actions in the upper parts of the River Severn to slow the flow of water and reduce the level of flooding in the borough.
Councillor Carolyn Healy (Labour) said: “For the third consecutive year, people in the borough, and particularly in and around Ironbridge have been at the mercy of the River Severn.
“We expect to see some flooding each year, but the increasing frequency of severe flooding is a real issue. In the past week, we’ve once again seen the flood barriers go up and low lying properties flood.
“Not only does regular flooding have a huge emotional and financial impact on residents and businesses, there is also a significant cost to the council.
“Whilst the Environment Agency own the flood barriers and decide when to deploy them, a condition of having this protection is that this council contributes to the costs of the deployment and leads on support for the unprotected properties in the Gorge.
“Across Telford and Wrekin it is the council who continues to support at times of flooding by delivering sand bags and clearing away damaged items following flood events. The increased frequency of flooding events is adding a further pressure on already stretched council resources.
“We need the government to recognise that flooding like this is no longer a once in a lifetime event – it needs a long term plan, the right level of funding and the necessary action to prevent future distress.”
Leader of the Council, Shaun Davies, who seconded the motion, said: “In February 2022, we wrote to the government alongside Shropshire Council to ask for a River Severn conference that recognises the regular cycle of misery flooding brings and to ensure that the long-term investment to prevent this is available.
“It seems that this fell on deaf ears, but we will continue to champion the need for a well thought-out, well-resourced programme of action to reduce flooding in our borough not just a sticking plaster approach to deal with the disruption that takes place here each and every year.”
Pictured: Councillor Carolyn Healy, Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Green Spaces, Natural and Historic Environment and Cultural Services pictured with Coalbrookdale resident Beverley Flynn, pointing out the height flood water reached in 2020 inside her home.