Shrewsbury river deaths: Safety review findings will be 'as soon as possible'

A river safety review sparked by a series of tragedies will be finished "as soon as possible," councillors have heard.

Hundreds of people took part in searches for Shrewsbury's Nathan Fleetwood in the weeks after his disappearance, with the tragedy leading to calls for action over river safety
Hundreds of people took part in searches for Shrewsbury's Nathan Fleetwood in the weeks after his disappearance, with the tragedy leading to calls for action over river safety

Shropshire Council's cabinet has been promised there will be no delay to findings from the review, which was launched after a succession of shocking incidents in Shrewsbury.

Two young men, Nathan Fleetwood and Toby Jones, both died in Shrewsbury's River Severn in the space of a matter of days in March and April, while another man, Dan Walker, has been left with life-changing injuries after being rescued from the water.

On Wednesday Shropshire Council's cabinet received an update on the review, which is being carried out by consultants WSP.

It has come after calls from families, friends, and campaigners, for more work to be done to prevent future tragedies – including the possible introduction of fences, river wardens, or more CCTV.

The council says that 41 people have died in Shropshire's rivers between 2004 and April 2022.

The authority's cabinet member for physical infrastructure, Councillor Dean Carroll, said that the review would look at all possibilities, and added that although its focus would be on county-wide river safety, tragic cases going back to 2004 had almost exclusively taken place in Shrewsbury.

He said: "We will be using the outcome of the review for learning for all other hot-spots in Shropshire where rivers and waterways come into contact with significant centres of population.

"But the report does conclude that the evidence over a long number of years going back to 2004 that almost all accidental deaths have been in Shrewsbury and those that were not were in the immediate environs of Shrewsbury."

Liberal Democrat leader Councillor David Vasmer said: "I am glad that all of the different elements are being considered. My only concern is the timing and as you will know from my contribution at council I have concerns that this issue is not delayed and action is taken very promptly."

In response Councillor Carroll said: "I take exception that we will be considering any delay in this subject."

He told the cabinet the review would be brought forward "as soon as possible".

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