Express & Star

Prime Minister says Chancellor reviewing £500 million bid to cut River Severn flooding

A bid for £500 million to tackle flooding from the River Severn is being reviewed by the Chancellor, according to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The Prime Minister responds during Prime Minister's Questions. Picture: UK Parliament - Jessica Taylor

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Sunak offered his sympathies to all those affected by the impact of Storm Henk.

The comments came in response to a question from Shrewsbury & Atcham's Conservative MP, Daniel Kawczynski, who has been leading a group which is trying to persuade the Government to fund a major programme designed to reduce the impact of flooding from the River Severn.

It comes after Storm Henk again led to flooding misery for residents in a number of parts of Shropshire, including Melverley, Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth, and Ironbridge.

Mr Kawczynski told the Prime Minister that communities along the length of the River Severn needed to see help to tackle the issue included in the forthcoming Spring Budget.

He said: "The Prime Minister knows that I set up and chair the caucus of 35 Conservative Members of Parliament who have Britain's longest river flowing through their constituencies – The River Severn.

"We've submitted a business case to the chancellor for £500m to finally tame the River Severn and I know that his officials are currently looking at those proposals.

"To tame the River Severn will lead to a GVA [gross value added] uplift in the West Midlands of over £150bn.

"The Prime Minister has seen this week the horrendous damage and misery caused in Shropshire and all the way along with River Severn of this river flooding yet again.

"We really do need to see now in the Spring Budget further assistance for communities like mine to deal with these floods."

Responding, Mr Sunak assured the Shrewsbury MP that the Environment Agency was looking at plans to help.

He said: "Can I start by saying that my thoughts are with all those affected by the devastating impact of Storm Henk and the flooding we have seen over the past week or two, including those in my honourable friend's constituency.

"Action is already being undertaken under our six-year £5.2bn investment programme to better protect land across the River Severn catchment area and elsewhere, but I know that the flooding minister met my honourable friend along with the Environment Agency in his constituency just before Christmas to discuss the specific plans he mentions.

"I know the Chancellor has received and started reviewing it. Can I assure him the Environment Agency is working closure with other partners to explore his plans further."