Floods hits roads and trains as Shropshire river levels rise

Flood barriers are going up and roads and railway lines are closed as Storm Christoph continues to bring heavy rain to Shropshire and Mid Wales.

The Ironbridge flood barriers. Photo: Environment Agency.
The Ironbridge flood barriers. Photo: Environment Agency.

Improvement works at the Wharfage in Ironbridge to ensure the barriers are secure had to be postponed today with Environment Agency staff moving in to put up temporary flood defences.

Defences are also being installed at Coleham Head along the River Severn in Shrewsbury.

Torrential rain in the north of the county overnight has brought flooding to the A5 just north of the Oswestry bypass with traffic having to divert through the village of Gobowen.

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The railway line in the same area is also flooding, with no trains running between Shrewsbury and Wrexham this morning.

There are still no trains running between Shrewsbury, Welshpool, Newtown and Machynlleth because of floods in mid Wales.

Flood warnings are in place for rivers across the entire county, with flood barriers erected yesterday at Frankwell in Shrewsbury, and this afternoon the Met Office issued a yellow warning for ice.

There are two, red flood warnings - meaning flooding is expected and immediate action is required - in Shropshire, on the River Vyrnwy at Maesbrook and Melverley north of Shrewsbury with the Environment Agency warning that properties and roads in that area could be affected.

Lesser flood alerts - meaning flooding is possible and to be prepared - are in place on the Severn Vyrnwy confluence and the whole of the River Severn the length of Shropshire, as well as the Upper Teme, affecting low lying land at Bishops Castle, Church Stretton, Knighton and Ludlow.

Resilient

In Wales there is a red warning for the River Vyrnwy in the Meifod area and flood alerts on the Vyrnwy catchment downstream of Meifod and on the Upper Severn in Powys as well as a red warning for River Dee from Llangollen and around Bangor-on-Dee, itself protected by permanent flood protection.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said that its team deployed the demountable flood barriers at Frankwell, Shrewsbury yesterday and were deploying the temporary barriers at Ironbridge today .

"With rivers levels high and the ground already saturated we will continue to monitor rainfall and the corresponding impact on river levels. We also have staff working around the clock on the incident, operating flood defences and temporary pumps where they are required, clearing debris from rivers and drainage channels, inspecting flood defences and supporting affected communities," a spokesman said.

"We continue to encourage the public to remain vigilant, protect themselves from flooding and take action by keeping up to date with the latest flood information on our website at gov.uk/check-if-youre-at-risk-of-flooding."

Road surfacing works began on the Wharfage in Ironbridge on Monday, part of a major scheme to ensure Ironbridge and the World Heritage Site are more resilient to flooding.

The Wharfage yesterday before roadworks were suspended

Last February exceptionally high water levels on the River Seven led to an emergency being declared as the temporary flood defences on the Wharfage threatened to give way under the weight of the water. Police urged people to leave their properties.

The barriers held but Telford and Wrekin Council worked with the Environment Agency through the year to draw up flood resilient measures.

They included the resurfacing of the Wharfage with a new material to improve friction and slightly slope the road towards the river to further reduced the risk of slippage by the barriers.

The Environment Agency said today: "Whilst preparation works on site have started, due to the heavy recent rainfall across Shropshire and the upper Severn catchment, and forecast for more wet weather throughout the rest of the week, we have taken the decision to postpone these works.

"We are reviewing the forecast over the next week and working with Telford & Wrekin Council and its contract partners to establish whether the surfacing works can continue once the barriers are removed or whether the work will need to be rescheduled.

"We would like to reassure residents and businesses in Ironbridge that there are contingency plans in place to deal with any increase in the river level; plans which we already put into practice last month to improve the method of deploying the town’s temporary flood defence scheme. Due to these contingency plans and already applied improvements, the barriers when deployed will continue to provide the same, if not a higher, standard of protection."

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