Faster support needed for Shrewsbury flooding victims - MP

Detailed proposals for a long-term solution to flooding problems in Shrewsbury should be ready by the summer, an MP has said.

Flooding in Shrewsbury. Photo: Julie Bull.
Flooding in Shrewsbury. Photo: Julie Bull.

But Daniel Kawczynski, the town's Conservative MP, said immediate action was also needed as the town was hit by severe flooding again, just 11 months after the last floods.

He said he would be pressing the government to make more money available to deal with the problem in the short term, and would be working with local businesses to make people more aware of what help was available now.

Mr Kawczynski said the River Severn Partnership, set up to devise a permanent solution to prevent the town from flooding, had produced detailed plans which would be going out to public consultation soon.

He said minister for floods Rebecca Pow would also be visiting Shrewsbury in April to meet with council and Environment Agency officials to discuss the plans.

But Mr Kawczynski said while it was important to come up with a long-term solution, more needed to be done to mitigate the problem in the immediate term.

Council workers clean up in Coleham after the floods

He said he would be lobbying for extra funding for both local government and the Environment Agency to tackle flooding.

He said he would be lobbying for extra funding for both local government and the Environment Agency to tackle flooding. Mr Kawczynski said he would be assessing what additional support residents in the Coleham area of town required, and would be talking to Shrewsbury Town Council, Shropshire Council and the Environment Agency to see how these needs could be met.

He said another problem was people not knowing which organisation was responsible for what. He said he would would be working with businesses based in Coleham to produce an information sheet explaining the help that was available.

"A lot of people say 'it's all very well talking about a long-term holistic solution, but my house is flooded now'," he said.

"We need to make sure that the right help is here now, that sandbags and things like that are available, and that people know how to get them."

Daniel Kawczynski

He said previous piecemeal attempts at flood prevention, such as the barriers at Frankwell, had done very little to solve the problem, and just moved the problem to different areas.

Mr Kawczynski said there was some opposition to the proposed flood defence measures from people living in rural parts of his constituency, and said it was important that all views were taken into account

"Most people in the town are in favour of the solution, but there are people in the countryside who are worried about the flooding of fields," he said.

But he said if the plans were supported by the majority of his constituents, he would be lobbying hard for the money to implement them.

Mr Kawczynski has formed a 'caucus' of 44 MPs whose constituencies are along the River Severn. He said they represented about eight per cent of the parliamentary Conservative Party, and therefore wielded significant influence.

He added that if support could be found for the scheme, it could also prevent an economic opportunity for the town as it would also benefit other areas downstream of Shrewsbury.

"There could be massive economic benefits for Shrewsbury from holding all this water," he said.

"If it can be proved that this solution benefits Bridgnorth, Bewdley and Worcester, then I think there would be a strong case for Shrewsbury charging them for doing this for them."

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