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Town washed out for three years running will get £6.2 million flood defence


By PA News

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A town which has been washed out for three years running is set to see £6.2 million spent on a permanent flood defence.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said Bewdley in Worcestershire will have its temporary flood barriers replaced to better protect homes and businesses battered by Storm Christoph in January.

The temporary defences failed when floods hit the Worcestershire town, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson was heckled by residents and branded a “traitor” for failing to meet the badly affected communities.

A flooded street in Bewdley, Worcestershire, after Storm Christoph (Jacob King/PA)
A flooded street in Bewdley, Worcestershire, after Storm Christoph (Jacob King/PA)

Six months on, flooding minister Rebecca Pow is set to announce the scheme, and a further £4.5 million which will be invested in smaller projects within the Severn Valley.

Defra said the money would help tackle flooding in the long term, using natural flood management techniques such as floodplain reconnection, wetland creation, woody debris dams and woodland planting to “slow the flow” of water upstream of Shrewsbury.

The minister said: “Flooding is a devastating experience, as people in Bewdley know only too well.

“The new Beales Corner scheme, combined with flood alleviation projects further up the Severn Valley, will help significantly reduce the risk of flooding in this area in future.

“It’s just one part of our wider action on flooding supported by our commitment of a record-breaking £5.2 billion across England between now and 2027, to better protect hundreds of thousands more homes.”

Flood defences failed in Bewdley in January this year (Jacob King/PA)
Flood defences failed in Bewdley in January this year (Jacob King/PA)

Defra said funding for the scheme was being made available through the Government’s £170 million economic recovery funding package, announced last year, aimed at accelerating work on ‘shovel-ready’ flood defence schemes across England.

Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency, said: “I know from meeting members of the community in Bewdley that flooding here is a constant worry.

“The Environment Agency has made progress in tackling flooding in the Severn Valley and a permanent defence at Beales Corner, as well as schemes further upstream to slow water flow, will help better protect homes and businesses.

“But, with climate change bringing more extreme weather, people need to be vigilant. I strongly urge people to sign up for flood warnings and regularly check flood risk on gov.uk.”

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