Dunne welcomes Bellwin Scheme to cover costs of emergency flood action

South Shropshire MP Philip Dunne has welcomed Monday’s confirmation from government that it has activated the Bellwin Scheme for Shropshire, following last weekend’s severe flooding in the county from Storm Dennis.

Through the Bellwin Scheme, the government reimburses the cost of local authority actions taken in the immediate phase of an emergency, including action to safeguard life or property or to prevent suffering or severe inconvenience, in its area or among its inhabitants.

Heavy rainfall from Storm Dennis caused severe flooding of rivers across South Shropshire, with properties and vehicles flooded and many roads impassable.

Mr Dunne said: “We have had severe flooding in parts of South Shropshire, and more rain is forecast, with Severe flood warnings for the Teme and Severn.

There has been one tragic loss of life of a woman swept away in the River Teme downstream in Worcestershire. 

The clear priority is to ensure people are safe, and I commend the work of Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service, the Environment Agency, Shropshire Council and West Mercia Police in getting help to those in need. Floodwater can be incredibly dangerous so please avoid unnecessary travel in flood affected areas and heed official warnings.

We clearly need to look again at flood defences in some areas of South Shropshire. Much Wenlock’s attenuation ponds appear to have worked, helping mitigate the damage to homes and businesses, and where flood barriers were erected in neighbouring constituencies to reinforce river banks, floodwaters seem to have been directed away from damaging properties. 

While it is too early to assess what might have helped the worst affected areas, such as along the riverbanks in parts of Ludlow, it seems we now need to consider flood barriers for Ludlow, Tenbury and Bridgnorth. Dredging the rivers has been called for by many, but can be seen as more of sticking plaster than the long term solution we need.

I am pleased the government has stepped in and activated the Bellwin Scheme, which will ensure Shropshire Council are able to take the emergency action they need to, regardless of cost.”

New Attenuation Ponds in Much Wenlock, which had been badly affected by flooding in previous years, appear to have helped mitigate flooding in the town, though some properties have been affected.

The Environment Agency has specially trained Flood Support Officers across the country who provide information and advice during and after floods. Call Floodline (24-hour service) on 0345 988 1188 or type-talk (for the hard of hearing) on 0345 602 6340.

The public can check their flood risk and keep up to date with the latest situation at www.gov.uk/check-flood-risk or by calling Floodline.

For information about how to stay safe, visit https://shropshire.gov.uk/shropshire-prepared-emergencies-and-major-incidents/flooding-and-heavy-rain-information/.

If you need sandbags, call Shropshire Council on 0345 678 9000 or visit https://shropshire.gov.uk/drainage-and-flooding/be-prepared-for-flooding/sandbags/ for more information.