Local people invited to help shape proposals for a Severn Valley water management plan

Shropshire Council / Environment Agency

The Environment Agency and Shropshire Council will soon engage with communities about proposals that seek to help people and businesses along the River Severn be prepared and resilient to the impacts of climate change.

The most recent climate change projections confirm the UK will experience wetter winters and drier summers, with an increased likelihood of more intense rainfall leading to flooding. Those who live and work around the River Severn know too well the devastating impact of flooding, on homes, businesses, infrastructure and the economy.

Yet the River Severn and the rivers that flow in to it also see the impacts of too little water for people, businesses and agriculture. At these times the Environment Agency ‘tops up’ the rivers from reservoirs and groundwater sources.

The emerging Severn Valley water management plan seeks to reduce the risk of flooding from the River Severn for nearly 3,000 homes and businesses. The proposals aim to explore options of storing flood water to reduce the amount of water flowing down the river at times of flood, while also looking at ways to store it for use when needed.

Adam Lines, from the Environment Agency said:

This is a very visionary project and one we’re excited to be part of. The Severn Valley water management plan could help communities along the whole of the River Severn as it passes from Wales through Shropshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire be better prepared for the extremes of climate change.

The northern relief road in Shrewsbury forms an important part of the proposals; it includes designing a road embankment that could help contain and store flood water away and upstream of Shrewsbury. Combined, the new road and a water management plan could reduce the risk of flooding to homes and allow further economic development.

This is the very start of the journey, there are a lot of unknowns, but the Environment Agency and Shropshire Council want to engage people now to help refine and develop the proposals.

Along with input from local communities and partners, environmental and ground surveys will also be carried to increase understanding of all of the areas that could be potentially impacted by the proposals. This process will shape how work will be taken forward to minimise impacts and promote local ideas and opportunities wherever possible. 

Mark Barrow from Shropshire Council said:

It is essential that we communicate and engage with people as soon as possible.

This is a once in a generation opportunity to review what infrastructure needs to be in place to mitigate the impacts of climate change, flooding and water security. This is a long term proposal, so it’s critical that everyone who has a property or business that is currently at risk of flooding or is affected by flooding from the River Severn, is able to inform and shape this work.

Engagement with communities and partners will be Covid-secure, so may rely less on face to face engagement and more on innovative approaches.

This is a long term vision, and won’t happen overnight, so it’s as important as ever that everyone knows if their property or business is currently at risk of flooding and it is a simple and quick process to find out.

To check if your property, business, or place of work is at flood risk, visit https://gov.uk/check-flood-risk or call Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

More information can be found on our website https://gov.uk/flood or call our Floodline on 0345 988 11 88.


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Notes to Editors

3,000 homes and businesses along the River Severn could be better protected from the risk of flooding by these proposals. Full details will become clearer as modelling and detailed plans are developed.

There are existing defences along the River Severn, which in February prevented 14,500 homes from being flooded, however, there are still communities and urban centres that remain at risk.

The water from the River Severn and its tributaries is used for drinking water, manufacture and agriculture.

The Shrewsbury North West Relief Road will provide a new, single carriageway road addressing a traffic bottleneck to enable the town to develop and grow.

These proposals are part of a wider vision of the River Severn Partnership to establish a strategy for adapting to climate change and to improve resilience across an area which covers the Rivers Severn, Teme, Warwickshire Avon and the Wye.

The River Severn Partnership, formed in September 2019, brings together the Environment Agency, local authorities, local enterprise partnerships, Severn Trent Water, Water Resources West, Natural Resources Wales, wildlife trusts and others.