Plan to tackle River Severn floods in Shropshire set to be revealed in summer

Plans that could "immediately benefit" Shrewsbury and surrounding areas in their battle against flooding could be revealed this summer.

Flooding in Coleham, Shrewsbury. Photo: Paul Ebrey
Flooding in Coleham, Shrewsbury. Photo: Paul Ebrey

In the wake of a third year running of devastating flooding in the county, the Environment Agency (EA) has confirmed it is making progress on its Severn Valley Water Management Scheme (SVWMS) – a plan to reduce flood risk to around 3,000 homes and more than 1,000 businesses.

The EA has also confirmed that while it will not be introducing permanent flood barriers for Ironbridge's Wharfage, it is working on options for other areas of the town.

Last month saw the county suffer more severe flooding, hitting properties in Melverley, Shrewsbury, Ironbridge, and Bridgnorth.

Amid concern about the increasing frequency of severe flooding, the EA has been challenged by the leaders of both Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire Council to review the county's flood defences – and those along the River Severn.

Asked if it would be reviewing whether communities require fresh defences the EA said it was working with Shropshire Council, the region's lead flood authority, to "identify any potential flood schemes and identify funding to match any government grants".

Although details of the SVWMS have not yet been revealed the EA says they would have "managed" or resulted in the flooding of 2007, 2020, and 2021, having "had much less impact".

It said that a business case for the study would be ready for the summer, and a "landscape visioning document" showing what could be planned will also be published.

An update on the progress of the project said: "This will illustrate the extent and type of work proposed across the catchment.

"When published, this document will be aspirational providing an overview of potential interventions, which will then evolve as the project develops."

A spokesman for the EA said: "While Shrewsbury and surrounding areas would immediately benefit from the proposed scheme, we expect there be flood risk benefits all the way down to Worcester."

The EA said it expected the work on the plans to take place starting next year – and up to 2027.

Regarding Ironbridge the EA confirmed a number of constraints prevent the introduction of permanent or de-mountable barriers, as seen at Frankwell in Shrewsbury, on the Wharfage.

It did though say that some options for the town are being looked at.

The spokesman said: "The temporary barriers at Ironbridge successfully reduce flood risk to properties along Wharfage.

"Due to the historic setting and environment of Ironbridge, and the way the properties are spread out, it is very challenging to offer a scheme for all properties.

"For this reason the Environment Agency have worked with Telford & Wrekin Council to trial the use of temporary barriers, with this being one of the first sites across the country to use temporary barriers.

"Following the 2020 floods the EA undertook a review of possible options to reduce flood risk for the community.

"Unfortunately, it was not possible to find an economically, technically or environmentally viable permanent solution for the Wharfage or some of the other areas of the community.

"However, some options were identified for areas of Ironbridge which we are working to progress."

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