This week has seen devastating flooding across Shropshire once again, at a time when some local residents are still rebuilding following the floods of the last two years.
Philip Dunne, local MP for South Shropshire, said today: "My thoughts are with those whose homes and/or businesses have been flooded and whose lives have been turned upside down once again.
The successive named storms, Dudley, Eustace and Franklin coming back-to-back over the last week, caused the River Severn to burst its banks, with Bridgnorth, Ironbridge and Shrewsbury facing severe flooding once again.
The Environment Agency have now reported that river levels through Bridgnorth peaked yesterday, reaching 5.12m at the measuring point, just short of the record 5.26m set in November 2000. But this is the third time in five years that the River Severn has risen to such levels, causing devastation to properties when the river overflows its banks.
Some lessons have been learned from these floods in recent years and responses to provide help to residents and businesses have been more swift and effective, not least through close collaboration between the Environment Agency and Shropshire Council, in the local resilience partnership, working with local flood action groups, Town and Parish Councils. As a result, responses to calls for help have generally been much improved. I would like to thank all those involved in helping others to safety and in efforts to protect their properties.
Shropshire Council is running a support hotline on 0345 6789006. In Bridgnorth, Council staff were on hand yesterday with advice and support at a Flood Reception Centre at Castle Hall in West Castle Street; and sandbags have been available 24/7 in recent days to residents at the Cantern Brook depot.
Travel has also been badly affected by the floods, with local road closures, including the main road between Bridgnorth and Telford at Fort Pendlestone. Due to a landslide in Marshbrook, rail services were affected between Shrewsbury and Hereford. Engineers have been on site since Tuesday to get rail services up and running, which have now resumed this morning.
On Tuesday, I joined a meeting for affected areas with Floods Minister, Rebecca Pow MP. I highlighted the plight of those who live alongside the River Severn and its tributaries. I urged her to encourage the Communities Minister to trigger the Bellwin Scheme of Emergency Financial Assistance to support Shropshire Council in its action to safeguard life and property and to help find clean-up efforts now getting underway.
I will also be urging the Environment Agency to review their report into flood management in Bridgnorth following the 2020 floods, in light of this repeat event and will encourage further engagement with local stakeholders including the Bridgnorth Flood Action Group. This report made no recommendations for demountable or permanent flood relief measures for the town, but highlighted steps that could be taken further upstream. The renewed flooding this week demonstrates the need for local protection measures in Bridgnorth and I will continue to press for a lasting solution.
My team and I will continue to support any constituents who get in touch with me over the coming days of clean-up.”