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Fears over increased Welsh flooding due to English dam

 
Created on 02/12/2020 @ 07:30
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

Border communities fear there will be an increase in flooding should a dam on the English side of the border get the go ahead.

At an information session on the work of the River Severn Partnership, organised by Llandrinio and Arddleen Community Council, questions were raised about what would happen when the Northern Shrewsbury Relief Road is built?

Fears have been raised that work on a dam as part of the road building project could cause flooding upstream around Llandrinio.

Director of Shropshire Council Place, Mark Barrow, had given a presentation on the scheme and said that the partnership needed to work “from source to sea”.

Earlier this year, the partnership was given £36 million by the UK Government for flood defence work.

Powys County Councillor for Llandrinio, Cllr Lucy Roberts, chaired the meeting and asked questions to Mr Barrow from those submitted via Zoom.

Cllr Roberts asked on behalf of Cllr Andrew Wigley: “The schemes you mention are all English ones.

“How can you say there will be no impacts this side of the border without having done any modelling?”

Mr Barrow, said: “I can’t say there won’t be any negative impacts, what I can say is that we’re working to understand that model. Natural Resources Wales is part of the partnership with the Environment Agency.”

He added that talks had also taken place with the Welsh Government and the UK Government’s Welsh Office so that they know of the partnership’s work.

Mr Barrow said: “The source in the Welsh hills has to be our starting point, there’s no intention at all to put communities at risk, the overall aim is to protect them, and how to best help that.

“Nothing will be committed to until we have a full understanding.”

Llandrinio and Arddleen community councillor, Leigh O’Connor, said: “All the briefing paperwork we had was talking about the effect on Shrewsbury and further on down stream.

“You have come to this meeting and are talking about up in the hills. It seems like a bit of an afterthought.

“You need to work up in the hills before you think about anything downstream of us.”

She feared that once the “lovely road and dam” are built everything else could fall by the wayside.

Mr Barrow replied: “I accept there is a degree of cynicism about this. Our approach was to understand the whole picture, how we can treat water as a resource, and manage flood risk.

“The bit that has pushed this timeline out of sequence is the development of the road. We’ve had to do a lot of peddling to catch up with that, and accelerate this process.”

He added that it would not look good to work on a water management facility as part of a Severn crossing, after work on the road had finished.

“It makes sense to do something before the road building work started,” said Mr Barrow.

There will be further engagement between the River Severn Partnership and the communities in Wales close to the river as details of projects emerge.

 

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