Shropshire Star

MP reveals treasury meeting over multi-million pound flooding plans

A £500m plan to prevent flooding along the length of the River Severn will be presented to government officials next month, and MP has revealed.

Flooding in Shrewsbury from the River Severn

The River Severn Partnership has been working on a business case for work to manage the River Severn, with the aim of stopping or limiting the devastating flooding seen in recent years.

The partnership is made up of a number of organisations, including the Environment Agency, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Councils, as well as a host of other councils, Severn Trent Water, Natural Resources Wales, and the Severn Rivers Trust.

The latest meeting, with officials from the Treasury, has been arranged by Shrewsbury & Atcham Conservative MP, Daniel Kawczynski, who leads the River Severn Caucus – a group of more than 40 MPs whose constituencies are affected by the River Severn.

It will take place on October 14, and Mr Kawczynski said it would be an opportunity to show the potential economic benefits of tackling flooding along the river.

Shropshire has been heavily hit by flooding for each of the last three years.

Shrewsbury, areas around Ironbridge, Bridgnorth, and villages such as Melverley have all faced major damage and disruption as a result.

Mr Kawczynski said: "This has been a very careful, methodical plan, which rather than looking after ourselves and pushing the problem downstream, looks at the interdependence we have as communities, be it Ironbridge or Bridgnorth. This is why I worked to get £40m for the River Severn Partnership when we were flooded in 2020.

"I think we are likely to be more successful if we can demonstrate that we are looking for a solution to manage the whole river, with the added benefit for all 40 constituencies it flows through.

"Rather than looking at it as a silo, rather than going to ministers ourselves we are going to minsters and collectively lobbying the government.

"This is a very important opportunity after two years of work to be able to jointly convince a delegation of senior Treasury officials that a £500m investment in managing the River Severn would be ground breaking.

"The GVA uplift for the treasury could be £150bn for the whole river catchment area if we can manage it correctly.

"Rather than just begging for money we are coming to them with an iron-clad business case which we think, if they are interested in return on investment and value for money for the tax payer, we are coming up with a solution that ticks all the boxes."

It has been predicted that the Severn Valley Water Management Scheme could stop as many as 3,000 homes and businesses being flooded.

In total the scheme will need to find a way to store around 26,000 Olympic swimming pools worth of water to provide the level of protection being targeted.