£40 million dam planned to protect homes from River Severn flooding
Thousands of homes could be protected from floods under a new £40 million plan to hold back the River Severn.
Shropshire Council is in discussions with other local authorities and the Environment Agency to slow down the flow of the river by creating a dam underneath the proposed North West Relief Road.
It comes as fresh flood warnings were issued in the region as levels rose again.
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Cabinet member, Councillor Steve Davenport, said conversations with Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire were at an early stage but all parties are keen to bring it forward given the recent floods caused by Storm Dennis.
He said: “We’ve been thinking about ways to hold back the River Severn for some time now but given what’s happened recently, it needs to be brought forward. Early plans suggest that when the North West Relief Road is built, the river could be held back under the bridge that is going to be constructed by putting in flood attenuation panels that would slow down the flow of the water and stop it from rising so quickly. It’s a very big scheme that could cost upwards of £40m but it will really benefit thousands and thousands of homes in these counties that have been devastated by the recent floods.”
The major engineering project is likely to be carried out where a new bridge will be built over the river at Shelton.
But North Shropshire MP, Owen Paterson raised concerns that holding back the river in Shrewsbury could affect communities upstream. He warned of a knock on effect on villages like Melverley, near Oswestry, which was recently cut off.
He said: “I would rather see water held back further up in the hills..”