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Concerns over flooding Government funding package

Telford & Wrekin Council is awaiting more detail on the Government’s announcement today of a £36 million package to prevent flooding along the River Severn.

This follows a series of flooding incidents in the Ironbridge Gorge last winter with homes and businesses hit a number of times.

In February, the power of flood waters damaged temporary flood barriers on the Wharfage in Ironbridge.

Cllr David Wright, cabinet member with responsibility for economy, housing, transport and infrastructure, said: “While we await more detail of this announcement, we are concerned that £36m to cover this long stretch of the River Severn will inevitably fall short of what we say is needed to protect the Ironbridge Gorge, the region’s only World Heritage site and a major tourist spot, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

“As we saw this winter, dozens of properties in the Gorge were hit time and again by flooding, while some were protected from the worst effects by temporary flood barriers only, which as this year showed are no guarantee against flooding.

“These barriers were only ever a short term measure, which leave many other homes and businesses completely unprotected. There is a real risk they are seen as a permanent solution that protects only a relatively small number of properties along the Severn in the borough. Many businesses in the area were severely hit by this winter’s flooding which saw the barriers in place for almost one month.

“In February, we lobbied the Environment Secretary to do more for the Ironbridge Gorge and help find and fund a more permanent solution to protect homes and businesses at risk on both sides of the river. 

“While catchment flooding upstream may help reduce some risks, people in the borough will be wondering precisely what protection will the Ironbridge Gorge get from this investment and at this point it’s not clear and I fear the answer will be not enough.

“After all that’s happened this year, we must do everything we can to help residents and most importantly businesses.”

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