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How Welsh fields could halt Shropshire flooding

By Sue Austin | Mid Wales | Farming | Published:

Using the uplands of Mid Wales to store water could stop floods that plague the lowlands of Shropshire, it was claimed today.

Fields near Welshpool flooded

As the flood barriers went up in Shrewsbury for the first time this winter over the weekend, Montgomeryshire MP, Glyn Davies, said he would be campaigning for the Pumlumon Project - a scheme that would recreate the wetlands of a vast area of upland countryside and avoid the water running into the rivers and down to the flood plains.

The MP says he will be looking for a chance to air the plans in parliament to get all British support for the idea.

Championed by the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust ,the Pumlumon Project was first suggested a decade ago.

Its aim would be to return uplands to boggy, wetland areas that would act as a sponge, retaining the rain and snow water in the mountains and allowing a slow release into the tributaries of water courses including the River Severn and the River Wye.

The trust says such large-scale ecological restoration can bring economic, social and environmental benefits.

But it will take a huge shift in public attitudes and expectations - and new funding - before it could be established.

Mr Davies said last week had seen grazing land on the Severn Valley bottom, near Welshpool, flooded.

"The acres of land under water are better than flooding Shrewsbury, Tewkesbury and other towns further south," he said.

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"But we could do so much more. The Pumlymon Range could save the nation a mega fortune if converted into water storage.

"I am not talking about constructing reservoirs but using the peat areas to store water followed by slow release.

"Because it would reduce productivity of the land, there would have to a subsidy regime for farmers and landowners."

The MP said the problem would be finding the funding for the scheme.

"We are talking millions of pounds here and the problem is that while all the work would be carried out in Wales, it would be the people of England that would benefit. We need to take a all UK approach to something that is so big."

Montgomery Wildlife Trust says the scheme would reduce the effects of flooding on huge numbers of farms, homes and businesses, transform the local economy, safeguard vast stores of carbon, and bring back vanished wildlife.

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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