Permanent flood barriers for Ironbridge to be reviewed – but officials say current system is 'best long-term solution'
A decision on whether to build permanent flood defences for Ironbridge will be reviewed by officials.
The Environment Agency, which is responsible for flood defences across the country, has said that Ironbridge's protection will be reviewed in light of devastation flooding over the past two weeks.
But the organisation has said it is wary of any plan that would spoil the character of a World Heritage site, and one of the region's tourism hotspots.
In a statement it said the current temporary barriers, which are moved into place on the Wharfage ahead of rising river levels, are the "best long-term solution for the location".
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It comes after calls from Telford & Wrekin Council leader Shaun Davies for more extensive protection for the town's historic wharfage, and other neighbouring communities like Jackfield, which currently have no defence.
Speaking at Thursday's meeting of full council, councillor David Wright, the authority's cabinet member for infrastructure, reiterated that call, saying now is the time for more permanent defences.
He said: "The problem was the sheer level of water through the Gorge, which was unprecedented.
"It's the first time these barriers were going to be topped out. This was an event which shows we're going to need more permanent barriers in this location.
"The temporary barriers have served us well but we need a permanent solution. That will cost a significant amount of resource. That resource will come from Government."
But the Environment Agency has warned that plans for more permanent defences could damage the character of the historic town.
A spokesman said: “The barriers erected when needed are the best long-term solution for the location.
“As putting up defences when they’re needed and taking them down when they’re not helps the town to retain its character and world heritage status.
“There are no current plans to install permanent defences. However, this will be reviewed after this incident as standard procedure.”
The flooding caused by Storms Ciara and Dennis has left many residents counting the cost of horrendous damage, and was the subject of a severe warning – meaning it presented a danger to life.
At one point an emergency evacuation was carried out at the Wharfage after the sheer weight of water moved the barriers and led to water getting through.
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