Shropshire Star

Boris Johnson could be invited back to Bewdley to open up permanent flood defences

Boris Johnson could be invited down to Bewdley to unveil the completed permanent flood barriers if officials behind the project agree, an MP has said.

Then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Bewdley in 2020

Mark Garnier said he would like the former Prime Minister to return after keeping his word to "get Bewdley done" on a visit to the flood-hit area in 2020.

But the Wyre Forest MP said the invitation was dependant on whether the Environment Agency (EA) – which is leading on the major scheme – approves.

It comes after plans were officially submitted for the measures to district council chiefs, funded by the over £6 million pledged by Mr Johnson's Government.

"The promise (to "get Bewdley done") has been kept by Boris," Mr Garnier said. "When he was Prime Minister he got the funding guaranteed and it was announced by Rebecca Pow, who was the floods minister, but it was Boris who made it happen.

"Say what you like about Boris Johnson, but he is directly responsible for this. I brought him down to look at the problem three years ago and he had a look at the devastation as a result of the flooding, he said he would 'get it done' and deliver the money.

"And the EA has been doing everything since then, they've been helped by the county council and the district council, who I'm sure will get this through as soon as possible. And when it's all finished, I would like to get Boris to get down and open it – but it's the EA's project, so I'll have to check with them. But, absolutely, this is thanks to Boris Johnson."

It is expected the barriers – which have been long called for by residents and politicians in the area – could resemble those currently in use in Upton-upon-Severn, if it is backed.

A planning statement said the EA will start construction on the scheme during the summer or autumn this year, which will take between 12 to 18 months to complete but will be subject to weather conditions and river levels.

Mr Garnier said the EA had completed an "awful lot" of work to ensure the complex plans have been agreed by those in the town, and described the push forward as "brilliant, brilliant news".

"I'm absolutely delighted and this will essentially be the wind in the sails of the ship and it looks like it will get planning permission, hopefully, and work can get started," the MP said.