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Concerns raised over funding for flood prevention projects in Ironbridge

The Ironbridge Gorge’s councillor says “early indications” suggest the area is going to get a relatively small slice of government funding aimed at tackling flooding in and around Shropshire.

Earlier this month Environment Secretary George Eustace MP announced a £5.2 billion package for river and coastal defences between 2021 and 2027, including £36 million aimed at the Severn.

Carolyn Healy, who represents Ironbridge Gorge on Telford and Wrekin Council and is a member of the borough’s cabinet, said “the bulk of it seems to be going to Bewdley and Shrewsbury, but we don’t know for certain yet”.

She was updating the area’s parish council on inspections that had been taking place below the water line at the Wharfage.

Parts of Ironbridge had to be evacuated after, following storms Dennis and Ciara, the flood barriers there were overwhelmed and pushed back by the force of the swollen river.

Cllr Healy told The Gorge Parish Council: “Since the flooding in February and the movement of the barriers, we’ve been lobbying the government for improvement to the barriers, something that doesn’t require a road closure, something a bit like Bewdley quayside that slots into the ground and has barriers put on top.”

She said inspection work was taking place on The Wharfage and the river wall “to find out how deep into the bank the wall goes, what sits behind it, et cetera”.

She said this would inform decisions about what defence equipment was needed, and the level of funding available would also factor into the decision.

“Unfortunately, our early indications are that it doesn’t seem to be very much and the bulk of it [the £36 million] seems to be going to Bewdley and Shrewsbury, but we don’t know for certain yet,” she said.

“We’ll know exactly what we need to do with the Wharfage wall when we know more.”

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