Work planned to look at new Ironbridge flood defences

The Environment Agency looks set to dig exploratory pits along Ironbridge’s main riverside street in preparation for new flood defences.

Work will be carried out to look at new flood defences for Ironbridge's Wharfage
Work will be carried out to look at new flood defences for Ironbridge's Wharfage

Councillor Carolyn Healy, who represents the Ironbridge Gorge ward, said the England-wide body was hoping to install new apparatus along The Wharfage that could be similar to the demountable metal barriers used in Shrewsbury’s Frankwell car park.

She admitted the work on that and other flood defence and mitigation projects would be “disruptive”, but said most people would understand their importance.

Councillor Healy added that Telford & Wrekin Council had allocated money to reduce the risk of drain flooding at Dale End, Coalbrookdale, while properties at Jackfield could use the Flood Resilience Scheme to install individual defences.

In February 2020, the Severn reached its highest levels at Ironbridge since 2000, and Environment Agency temporary barriers were deployed.

Despite being moved by the force of the water, scraping marks in the road surface, the barriers were largely successful in protecting the town.

In July 2020, the government announced an additional £170 million to accelerate the construction of flood defence projects into 2021.

Last month council leader Shaun Davies wrote to Environment Secretary George Eustice MP calling for a permanent flood defence system in Ironbridge, saying this would cost an estimated £40 million.

Updating The Gorge Parish Council, Councillor Healy said: “We are working with the Environment Agency on some flood defence options, in particular along The Wharfage.


“They are keen to investigate the feasibility of a scheme that wouldn’t require the demountable barriers we now, something probably like the Frankwell-type option.”

Frankwell Car Park, in Shrewsbury, is protected by a demountable fence made up of metal slats.

Councillor Healy said: “We need to do some investigation work with the Environment Agency along The Wharfage that will involve digging trial pits. We’re just working out exactly when that’ll happen.

“Similarly we as a council have set aside some capital funding for Dale End in relation to trying to mitigate flooding there, basically to stop water coming up to the surface in all but the very extreme floods.

“That then stops it overtopping into the Severn Trent foul water drains which, obviously, then causes even more problems.

“So there’s still some more work we need to schedule in and I know that’s disruptive but these are flood defence matters and I would hope most people would see that’s really valuable in the long term.

“Hopefully at our next meeting I’ll have more concrete information about that.”

Councillor Jason Stokes asked about flood defences in Jackfield, on the other side of the river and about half a mile down from The Wharfage.

“At the moment I’ve not got details of anything for Jackfield,” Councillor Healy said.

“What we’re looking at with Jackfield is more individual property defences through the Flood Resilience Fund that was related to the previous year’s flooding.

“The Environment Agency aren’t looking for any capital schemes at Jackfield.”

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