CAMPAIGNERS have welcomed a multi-million pound Government investment to manage the dangers posed by flooding on the River Severn after the devastating storms earlier this year.
The River Severn is at the heart of a nationwide a £5.2billion programme of investment to support flood resilience which will see the introduction of a Severn catchment pilot project to protect and support 22,000 jobs along the course of the Severn Valley.
Alongside this the Government has announced a new £200million fund for innovative resilience projects which combine improvements to flood resilience with wider environmental objectives and significant funding for Tenbury Wells which was among the areas fiercely hit by February’s floods.
Leading flood campaigner Mary Dhonau welcomed the announcement of cash for flood risk management, not just new flood defences.
“Working with nature and building back better are essential pieces of the flood resilience jigsaw. They are now mainstream, along with building flood defences,” she said.
The plan will see the delivery of flood and coastal defences to prevent £32billion in economic damage, the creation of areas to store water during flooding and greater use of nature based solutions to reduce flood risk.
Subject to consultation, flood resilience measures will also be included in any repairs after flooding to allow households which have measures in place to benefit from lower premiums.
Worcester MP Robin Walker welcomed Flood Minister Rebecca Pow to the city to show her the impact of flooding locally and proposed a blueprint to prevent and better manage future floods including more tree planting and better local plans.
“Flooding is a menace Worcester homes and businesses know all too much about and boosting our natural defences against flooding through better management of catchment areas and more tree-planting has to be the right thing to do,” he said.
“I know some Worcester communities such as Toronto Close would benefit from flood defences and I will continue to push for these but the whole Severn valley will benefit if we can better manage the flow of water and retain more upstream.
“The announcement is a big step in the right direction and the investments we make in environmentally friendly flood management will benefit not only jobs and livelihoods today but generations to come.”
Malvern’s MP Harriett Baldwin, whose West Worcestershire seat includes Tenbury Wells, welcomed the cash boost for much-needed flood defence for the town.
“Flooding has been a terrible blight in Tenbury and I was devastated to see the effects of serious flooding earlier this year leaving people homeless and businesses shut,” she said.
“I’ve always felt that this project would need persistence and I held positive meetings with Government ministers after this latest flood.”