Shrewsbury MP calls on minister to make more money available for flood defences
A Shropshire MP called on the minister for flooding to make more money available for flood defences in the county during a debate in parliament.
Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, said in his constituency alone 300 business and residential properties had suffered from flooding, and the cost of the clean-up operation would be in excess of £1 million.
Mr Kawczynski was speaking at a Westminster Hall debate when he called to discuss flooding on the River Severn.
The debate took place as Shrewsbury’s Frankwell car park was closed as high river levels began working their way through Shropshire yesterday. The Environment Agency issued flood alerts for towns along the River Severn
He spoke of the hardship experienced by a number of small businesses in Coleham area of town.
“These people are seeing the devastation and what has happened to their neighbourhoods, and the financial damage that has been called to their businesses is galling to see,” he said. “I have spoken to one B&B hotel owner who lost almost £30,000, he was almost in tears as he showed me the damage to his hotel.”
He said Shropshire Council was already struggling with the rising costs of adult social care, and the cost of dealing with the floods would be problematic for the authority.
Mr Kawczynski asked minister for flooding, Rebecca Pow, to commit fresh investment to prevent the repeat of scenes such as those experienced in Ironbridge, Ludlow, Bewdley and Shrewsbury last month. He also called for the Government to draw up a national strategy for the 220-mile long river, similar to those already in place for the Humber Estuary and the River Thames.
He said there were 117,000 homes and 10,000 businesses in areas considered to be flood zones along the river, with 7,000 jobs in the high-risk areas.
“There is a clear trend for more frequent and more severe flooding, and I would suggest that now is that time for the Government to agree that a new ‘holistic’ and bold approach is taken to addressing and managing our rivers so that we can both remove the blight affecting so many of our constituents, and our local businesses, and that also we may look at our rivers as a resource and not a threat.which he said would benefit many communities along the River Severn.
“I would ask that Government also supports, politically and economically, the development of a River Severn strategy, similar to that already in place for the Humber Estuary and River Thames, but with a remit to look at water management, flood risk, sustainable growth and climate resilience,” he said.
Mr Kawczynski also told MPs that the River Severn Partnership now required significant resources to design new flood-reduction measures, and asked Mrs Pow to work with him to see how this could be funded.
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