Shropshire Star

Flood measures in Ironbridge 'only act as sticking plaster’ with 'no real plan' in place

The issue of flooding in the Ironbridge Gorge is being dealt with by sticking plasters and not meaningful measures, Telford and Wrekin’s administration has said.

Flood barriers in place along the Wharfage at Ironbridge

The council is to write to the Environment Minister calling for more funding to deal with the increased frequency of flooding and for cash to provide better flood defences for Ironbridge.

It also wants to urgently implement actions in the upper reaches of the Severn to slow the flow of water and reduce flood peaks and gain more funding for those affected by flooding. Councillors voted for a motion from Ironbridge Gorge member Carolyn Healey at a meeting on Thursday.

The cabinet member for climate change said once again the Ironbridge Gorge community had had to face the prospect of the River Severn flooding and entering properties with many other areas of the borough affected by other forms of flooding. "Not only does this increased frequency of flooding have a huge emotional and financial impact on residents and businesses, there is also a significant cost to the council,” she said.

“Whilst the Environment Agency owns the flood barriers and decides when to deploy them, a condition of having this protection is that this council contributes to the costs of the deployment and leads on support for the unprotected properties in the Gorge.

"Across Telford and Wrekin it is the council who continues to support at times of flooding by delivering sand bags and clearing away damaged items following flood events. The increased frequency of flooding events is adding a further pressure on already stretched council resources.

“Since 2010 this Conservative government has deployed sticking plasters to the issues of flooding in The Gorge and across Telford and Wrekin, without a real plan to help residents, business and the council.”

A flooded garden along the swollen River Severn in Ironbridge

She said she wanted to see improved flood defences for Ironbridge that would be cheaper to put in place and have less impact of residents and businesses.

Councillor Tim Nelson said that rather than call for more funding councillors should be putting forward projects that would help.

He and other Conservative councillors listed ideas including the excavation of linear drainage ditches, measures in the Upper Severn and re-wilding areas and bringing in beavers to provide natural dams.

Councillor Andrew Eade said building homes on flood plains also had to stop.

Chair of Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority, Councillor Eric Carter, said he had met with the environment secretary in his fire authority role to discuss flooding and said the fire authority was on the River Severn Partnership.

“What is needed is attenuation solutions on the Wales/England border, reservoirs to hold the water in place and allow the pace of the flow to be managed,” he said.

“The problems aren’t going to be solved putting barriers up, we need to slow the river down.”