Early action 'protected more than 4,000 homes and businesses' in region from flood devastation in January

Early action protected more than 4,000 homes and businesses in the West Midlands from the devastation of flooding this January, the Environment Agency has said.

Flood defences at Bewdley Severn Side North
Flood defences at Bewdley Severn Side North

Operatives worked around the clock to deploy demountable barriers along the River Severn and River Wye to protect communities after many persistent bands of rain earlier in the month resulted in elevated river levels.

Barriers were deployed to hold back flood water at sites including Shrewsbury, Ironbridge, Bewdley and Hereford whilst a large flood pumping station operated continuously for two weeks in Kempsey, as well as flood gates being closed at Upton-upon-Severn.

Other flood risk assets operated in Cheltenham, Worcester and Gloucester to prevent flooding.

The Environment Agency has also issued a total of 39 flood alerts and 61 flood warnings since the beginning of the year.

While some properties did flood, the Environment Agency said many more were protected thanks to the measures taken.

Environment Agency operations manager, Anthony Perry said: “We saw a lot of heavy rainfall at the beginning of the year which meant the Severn and Wye catchments became very saturated and river levels rose quickly.

“We deployed and operated our flood defences which stood up to the challenge and provided valuable protection to more than 4,000 homes and businesses in the area.

“Without the public investment of these defences many communities could have been flooded and faced weeks before being able to return to their homes.

"Instead, residents faced minimal disruption and businesses were able to carry on their operations.”

More than 100 Environment Agency staff worked to deploy barriers, ensure water courses were clear of debris and operated pumps to remove surface water.

Permanent flood defences are planned for Bewdley, with work on the promised scheme expected to begin this year.

Residents in Bewdley were urged to evacuate their homes due to extremely high water levels on the River Severn last February.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow visited the town around that time to see the damage done after flood waters once again breached temporary barriers.

And she said work would begin this year on promised £6.2 million permanent barriers at the notorious Beales Corner, which has borne the brunt of the flooding.

People can check their flood risk, sign up for free flood warnings and keep up to date with the latest situation at gov.uk/check-flood-risk, call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or follow @EnvAgency on Twitter for the latest flood updates.

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News