Prospective parliamentary candidate calls for urgent measure to stop more flash floods
Chris Naylor, the Liberal Democrat candidate for the new South Shropshire constituency at the general election, says the county needs to be better prepared for deluges like that that hit the area as part of Storm Babet.
He said immediate steps that need to be taken are drain clearance and looking for ways to control the flow of water.
On Friday Mr Naylor met residents in Church Stretton affected by flooding from the A49.
He said: “Yet again it has rained hard. Yet again there were flash floods that could have been avoided if the county had been better prepared. Floods at Minsterley, Ludlow, Church Stretton, Cleobury Mortimer and in many other towns and villages in the south of the county.
“I am saddened and shocked to hear that one man died in floodwater at Cleobury Mortimer.
“I spent this morning meeting residents in Church Stretton who had been affected by flash flooding from the A49 yesterday. Around a dozen houses in Swains Meadow were damaged. Fortunately, Church Stretton Town Council has plans in place to deal with emergencies. In the event, its plan to shelter flooded residents was not needed but it is vital that we have that in place."
He added: “The stark reality is that south Shropshire needs to be better prepared for these deluges. The science is straightforward. As the climate warms, the air will hold more water. Deluges, rather than the steady rain we are used to, will become more common.
“There are two steps than should be taken immediately to reduce the impact of flash flooding.
“Shropshire Council should clean out all the roadside drains. Many are still blocked after debris was washed into them during the summer storms. Some are even growing grass. The council needs to make clearing drain blockages a priority.
“It is more challenging to control the flow of rivers and streams. The rivers Teme, Corve, Onni and Rea are fast flowing and often create floods. Flooding could be reduced if Ledwyche Brook and the many other streams and brooks that flow into our rivers were tamed.
“We have already shown how to do this in South Shropshire. Leaky dams that imitate beaver dams have been created. Swales have been dug alongside brooks. Trees have been planted where they can most absorb run off from the fields.
“It is urgent that the Environment Agency and Shropshire work with landowners to scale these projects up.
“Flash flooding is happening now. It will get worse unless we act quickly to slow the flow of water into our brooks and rivers.”