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Plea to PM over floods as ‘devastated’ Worcestershire town evacuated again

Written by on 23/01/2021

We’re stood in the same spot, in the same level of dirty flood water, as we were reporting from 11 months ago.

Collapsed plastic barriers and rubbish float by, as the one diesel water pump that’s still working struggles in vain against the force of the River Severn in Bewdley.

Residents who had their homes destroyed here back in February have been forced to flee all over again.

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Worcestershire floods seen from above

We come across Dan Maddan and his two dogs, who were rescued after water came into his property at midnight.

“I didn’t think it would happen that quickly. Last year I had time to get out before it overtopped – but this time that didn’t happen,” he says.

“There is a pump inside that pumps the water out but obviously it packed up after a while and the water just rose up to about one to two foot.”

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Flood threat as Severn swells in Worcestershire
River Severn floods Bewdley street
Image: Fire and rescue services have been out in boats in Bewdley, Worcestershire

More from Worcestershire

I asked how he felt, being back in this situation 11 months on.

“Gutted to be honest. It took me years and years to buy a house in the town I love and its flooded twice in two years.”

Last February, this Worcestershire town was badly flooded.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited, promising to “get Bewdley done” – a reference to improving flood defences on the east side of the river.

Flooding his hit the Worcestershire town of Bewdley. Pic: Environment Agency
Image: A temporary flood barrier was breached in Bewdley. Pic: Environment Agency

The government announced in June a £5bn investment to tackle flooding in England.

But as yet, there’s no change to defences here.

“I just hope Boris gets the permanent barrier done,” adds Dan.

“[My] stress levels are through the roof, I’ll have nowhere to live for three to four months while they fix it but with COVID it’s just going to delay everything.”

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March 2020 – PM heckled as he visits flood-hit area of Worcestershire

At the water’s edge (half way up Kidderminster Road), community flood warden Lindsay Wilson is watching over the rising water, which still hasn’t peaked.

She owns a house right by the river, and received a message from her tenant last night.

“At 10pm I got a text from her saying she’s been asked to evacuate,” says Lindsay. “She’s only been in a month. It’s taken me 11 months to get the property back to a liveable, habitable state after last February’s floods.”

Flooding also hit homes near Naburn Lock in York
Image: Flooding hit homes near Naburn Lock in York

Lindsay was one of the residents who met the prime minister 11 months ago.

“He gave us a promise then: Let’s get Bewdley done. To his credit he’s sticking by that, so as far as we know it’s going ahead and they’re just doing the surveying work at the moment.

“If Mr Johnson is watching this now: Please could you get things moving because I don’t think we can stand much more of the devastation that goes on.”

Ironbridge in Telford also saw flooding
Image: Ironbridge in Telford also saw flooding

Looking across to the west side of Bewdley, you can see more permanent flood defences.

It’s what those on the east side would like.

Clare Dinnis from the Environment Agency is on the scene – and insists “technical” work on a solution has been done since last years flooding:

“The kinds of solutions that we’re looking at are similar to what we’ve got on the other side.

“Maybe some kind of wall where we’ve got glass panels, flood gates that can be shut that can give some more permanence, there are number of different options we’ve got but until we understand what the technical feasibility is it would be wrong for me to tell you exactly what the solution is.”

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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