Rallying call for greater government aid to combat Worcester floods - The Worcester Observer

Rallying call for greater government aid to combat Worcester floods

Worcester Editorial 15th Feb, 2024   0

A RALLYING call has been made to Worcester councillors to unite in a plea for greater help to better tackle the devastating floods which have long plagued the Faithful City.

The calls for government aid come from Green Party Coun Karen Lewing and follow last month’s latest washout, caused by Storm Henk, which saw more than 200 properties across the county impacted.

Coun Lewing, who is Chair of the Environment Committee, claimed the cash support from the government to the public sector to tackle this issue was inadequate – with no funding made at all in some cases.

As a result, the Arboretum councillor will table a proposal at Tuesday’s full council meeting for councillors to decide whether to ask the authority’s managing director to write to the government urging them to take steps to address the issue.

The motion put before councillors calls for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to provide guaranteed levels of flood recovery funding for Worcester, which would be regularly reviewed.

Coun Lewing said climate change meant Worcester was facing periods of more intense rainfall, which would cause more frequent and costly floods and stretch council staff who would otherwise be completing other tasks.

She has also called on the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs to implement natural flood management techniques along the Severn’s length so rainwater can be absorbed rather than flow out to sea.

Other suggestions include setting up another cross-council working group to involve Worcester in discussions with other frequently flooded towns and cities along the River Severn.

Coun Lewing told the Observer: “We’re proud of living in such a beautiful city and it’s defined by the magnificent River Severn.

“But when it floods across the open spaces that form its floodplain it makes our daily lives at best inconvenient and at worst, it can have a disastrous impact on our homes and families.

“In the last 20 years, we’ve had as many high floods as in the previous 100 years.

“This is a really important motion and I am really hoping to achieve cross-party support.”

In response, an Environment Agency spokesperson said: “We have seen over recent years changing weather patterns causing more frequent and prolonged periods of flooding along the River Severn.

“The Environment Agency working with communities and other partner organisations, including the River Severn Partnership, is committed to implementing Natural Flood Management measures throughout the catchment where possible.

“Under the new funding round from 2021-2027, we expect to invest around £150million to reduce flood risk and better protect around 3,000 homes and businesses across the English Severn and Wye Catchment.”

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