Flood-hit areas call for ‘permanent solution’ as rain could ‘slow down’ recovery

A Telford & Wrekin councillor has called on central government to provide a ‘permanent solution’ to flood risks along the River Severn.

22 February 2022

Flood-hit communities are calling for a “permanent solution” to increasingly frequent flooding as heavy rain could “slow down” recovery from three storms that hit the UK within a week.

Storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin left 1.4 million households without electricity, some for up to 72 hours while dozens of properties near the River Severn have been evacuated.

Major incidents have been declared in Worcestershire and Shropshire as water levels along the river continue to rise, West Mercia Police said.

Winter weather Feb 22nd 2022
The Vic Haddock boat house under water on the River Severn following high winds and wet weather in Ironbridge, Shropshire (Nick Potts/PA)

Meanwhile, the Environment Agency has urged communities in parts of the West Midlands and the north of England to be prepared for significant flooding until Wednesday.

It issued severe flood warnings, meaning a “danger to life” for Ironbridge and Bewdley where the temporary flood defences face being overtopped.

Telford & Wrekin councillor Shaun Davies, who was on the scene in Ironbridge on Tuesday morning where flooding has hit areas without defences, has called on the central Government to provide a “permanent solution” to flood risks along the river.

Speaking to the PA news agency, he said the situation is “tense” and local authorities have evacuated around 60 properties in the area.

He said: “Some properties have no protection from flood defences and are still under water, and we have evacuated properties behind defences that could be breached while supporting those who have decided to stay put.

Winter weather Feb 22nd 2022
Telford & Wrekin councillor Shaun Davies near the River Severn following high winds and wet weather in Ironbridge, Shropshire (Nick Potts/PA)

“We are doing all we can to support residents and are preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.”

He added that, as a “major tourist hotspot” and the only world heritage site in the Midlands, the flooding during half term is a “huge disturbance to local residents after a very challenging two years”.

Mr Davies said the Government have provided the community with “temporary” flood barriers but “there is significant concern they will be breached”.

“This is a problem for the Severn as a whole and we need to make sure the solution is permanent.”

The councillor said the Environment Agency and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said that flooding in 2020 was a “once-in-a-century event”.

“But it’s just two years later and we need to be preparing for this kind of event as a normal event going forward,” he said, adding that the community now needs “permanent barriers”.

Winter weather Feb 22nd 2022
Flood defences along the Wharfage next to the River Severn following high winds and wet weather in Ironbridge, Shropshire (Nick Potts/PA)

Meanwhile, Jonnie Ashley, 37, who lives in Shrewsbury, also told PA that the flooding is “becoming the normal” and “slowly getting worse”.

“While it brings the community together, we are getting fed up of it.

“Every time we flood, it’s a big clean-up operation for those by the river, and as our town centre is essentially surrounded by the river, it has an effect (on) how people can go about day-to-day living.”

Winter weather Feb 20th 2022
Flood barriers are erected along the River Severn in Ironbridge, Shropshire (NIck Potts/PA)

Another local resident Liam Ball, 30, said the rain has not been “unprecedented” this year – as this is the third year in a row where devastating flooding has hit Shrewsbury.

“I think the people of Shrewsbury and all on the Severn in Shropshire are getting sick of this happening year on year,” he said.

“It affects property and people’s businesses it would seem every year at the moment.

“Hopefully more can be done upstream to stop these sort of events continuing.”

Winter weather Feb 22nd 2022
Water begins to spill behind flood defences along the River Severn at Bewdley in Worcestershire (Joe Giddens/PA)

Met Office forecaster Mark Wilson said while there will not be a “huge amount” of rain on Tuesday, further rainfall in flood-affected areas could “cause recovery to slow down massively”.

The weather agency has issued another yellow weather warning for wind on Wednesday for Yorkshire and Humber.

Met Office spokesperson Stephen Dixon added that the heavy showers lashing northern England and Northern Ireland are also set to move south-eastwards on Tuesday.

“What we will see this week is largely more typical February weather rather than the more impactful weather we saw last week,” he said.

“We will see scattered rain through the week and some windy conditions”

Winter weather Feb 22nd 2022
Flooding in Ironbridge. (Nick Potts/PA)

Latest figures from the Energy Networks Association show that 12,000 customers are still without power as of Tuesday morning.

UK Power Networks said on Tuesday morning 99% of properties across the East and South East have had their power restored.

It comes after Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said extreme weather, like the storms that have lashed the UK, “could” become a feature of the country’s climate.

Police also named husband and father-of-two Stephen Matthews, 68, from Aintree, as the passenger who died after debris struck the windscreen of a vehicle he was travelling in high winds in Netherton, Merseyside, on Friday.

Meanwhile, two adults were forced to take refuge on the roof of their 4×4 and a relative had to rescue a baby from the back seat after it became stuck in floodwater during Storm Eunice in the village of East Leake on Friday, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service said.

PA has contacted Defra for comment.

More from Perspective

Get a free copy of our print edition


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Your email address will not be published. The views expressed in the comments below are not those of Perspective. We encourage healthy debate, but racist, misogynistic, homophobic and other types of hateful comments will not be published.