Once again the River Severn has flooded causing large parts of Shrewsbury to be under water. Shropshire Council’s highways teams are working around the clock to close roads and car parks and make sure people who need them have sandbags to protect their homes and businesses. The last major flood in Shrewsbury cost over £1M in safeguarding costs and trying to reopen flooded buildings. I have today, 22 February 2022, written to the DEFRA Minister to ask for additional funding grants for Shropshire Council to help with the financial burden.
Of the last five major floods in Shrewsbury, three have taken place in the last three years, making a major flood an annual event. I am working with the River Severn Partnership on specific plans for both short term and long term holistic schemes to prevent flooding and prevent this huge annual impact to our economy. Some of these are:
- Upper Severn Valley Water Management Scheme: The detailed feasibility work for options to store water north of Shrewsbury should be available within the next 4-6 weeks. Whilst this is a longer term measure, it never the less is critical to helping address the predictions for river level increases on the back of climate change. We would welcome Government supporting us maintaining the momentum the RSP has built up and supporting that scheme through to delivery.
- Riverside Development: As part of the proposals for the much needed redevelopment of Riverside, our development masterplan would include for improved flood defences, including drainage upgrades that would see the installation of one way valves. This is a medium term plan as the development is hoped to be complete by 2028-30, but if we could get support from Government to accelerate that investment that would be welcome and work could be done in tandem with the initial phases of building development
- Coton Hill: We are exploring what could be done to improve the retaining wall alongside the river to make it more flood resilient and also improve the drainage system with one way valves as above. This would be a relatively inexpensive investment but could be a short term intervention. This could be funded through the EA’s grant in aid programme if we can secure support.
- Longden Coleham: The ‘Flood Resilience Measures’ that individual property owners have installed using grant funding provided from Government in 2020 have proved really successful and we would encourage another round of grant funding to help extend that protection across other parts of Shropshire. The Environment Agency are also reviewing what can be done to further protect this part of Shrewsbury in the short term.
- Attingham Park: The National Trust are also bringing forward a detailed feasibility to create a new significant water storage asset on land they own between Atcham and Cross Houses. This would also be an area for habitat creation, includes leisure uses as well as improved flood and water storage capability. This very plays into the space Government are encouraging big landowners into in terms of taking a wider stewardship role.