River Severn defences to be repaired in aftermath of February flooding

Defences along the River Severn are set to be examined by the Environment Agency in the wake of this year's serious flooding.

The River Severn nears the top of flood barriers in Ironbridge. Photo: Geodesign Barriers www.geodesignbarriers.com
The River Severn nears the top of flood barriers in Ironbridge. Photo: Geodesign Barriers www.geodesignbarriers.com

Communities along the river suffered for the third year running as the Severn burst its banks from Shrewsbury down to Worcester and beyond.

The flooding came after storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin hit the UK in February, which saw the Met Office issue two rare red warnings for Eunice – the most severe and damaging storm to affect England and Wales for many years.

Temporary barriers prevented flooding in some areas - such as Frankwell in Shrewsbury and the Wharfage in Ironbridge - but the fences in Bewdley failed to stop streets around Beales Corner from being submerged.

In Ironbridge the water came just a few centimetres short of breaching the barriers while down the gorge in Jackfield villagers' houses were submerged. Similar scenes took place across the region including in Melverley, near Shrewsbury, where people had to be evacuated.

Rhys McCarthy, flood risk manager for the Environment Agency, said the damage would have been much worse were it not for the preparations put in place beforehand.

He said: “February brought three named storms in succession which posed a significant risk of flooding to communities along the River Severn.

"We were however prepared, with thousands of properties benefitting from the protection that our defences provided.

"These defences included flood walls and embankments, flood storage areas, temporary barriers, property flood resilience measures, pumps and flood gates.

“We are now inspecting all of our flood defences to work out where any essential repair works are needed to make sure they are all in good working order and fully operational, ready to use again.

"This work includes removing any blockages in rivers and culverts, clearing debris from trash screens and checking the operation of sluices.

"Demountable and temporary defences and pumps have already been cleaned and checked for damage.”

The Environment Agency issued 12 severe flood warnings and a total of 118 flood alerts during the storms and deployed all of its flood assets along the Rivers Severn and Wye, including temporary and demountable barriers at Shrewsbury, Ironbridge, Hereford and Bewdley.

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