Shropshire Star

Mix of solutions needed to protect Shrewsbury from flooding, says minister

The Environment Secretary has said a mix of solutions will be key to protecting Shrewsbury from flooding.

Environment Minister Therese Coffey visited Frankwell in Shrewsbury where she met Environment Agency staff

Therese Coffey MP was speaking during a visit to the town where she was shown how Frankwell’s temporary flood barriers operate.

Staff from the Environment Agency joined the minister and the Shrewsbury & Atcham MP, Daniel Kawczynski to explain how the system works.

Flooding has been an increasingly key issue for Shrewsbury, and a number of other parts of the county, with major floods taking place in each of the last three years.

The visit was also attended by the Mark Barrow, the Shropshire Chair of the River Severn Partnership, which is working to come up with measures, and funding to tackle the issue.

Ms Coffey said that it was critical there are a combination of solutions, explaining that a mix of ‘nature based solutions’ and others such as small scale barriers, as seen in Frankwell were necessary.

Mr Kawczynski said that he had used the meeting to stress the importance of the situation and the potential benefits of reducing the frequent flooding faced by the county.

He said: “I consider flooding to be the single biggest barrier to Shrewsbury’s economic growth.

“We are now being flooded on an annual basis and this is why I consider the work of the River Severn Partnership to be critical.”

He added: “In 2019 I invited her predecessor George Eustice to visit shops in Coleham, residents that were badly flooded. As a result of that visit we received £40m seed funding for the River Severn Partnership.

“We are now bidding for £500m to the Treasury for a holistic solution to managing Britain’s longest river. I wanted to give her a practical message that we represent 42 MPs in the River Severn Caucus, 11 per cent of the parliamentary party, and for the majority of us the flooding issue is the biggest threat to our local economies.”

Mr Kawczynski said that the minister had agreed to meet with representatives from the Environment Agency and the River Severn Partnership at Westminster.

He added: “We are not just thinking about today, we are thinking about future generations of Salopians. This is a huge opportunity.”