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Praise for flood defences
11:00am Tuesday 8th January 2013 in News
FLOOD defences have saved the people of Upton from ‘misery’ and there is more money in the pot for similar schemes, says the Environment Secretary.
Owen Paterson visited Waterside in Upton on Wednesday to see for himself the ‘brilliant’ flood defences which have protected the town and kept it open for business since they launched in July.
Mr Paterson and Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, inspected the £4.5 million glasstopped defensive wall which has already protected 64 homes during five different floods.
The Environment Agency estimates the defences have protected homes and businesses from £1.6 million of damage for each flood, more than covering the original cost.
Mr Paterson said the Government had already pledged £2.17 billion to protect homes from flooding but had added £120 million in the Autumn Statement.
However, he confirmed no deal had yet been struck with the Association of British Insurers over the issue of affordable flood insurance in high risk areas.
Mr Paterson urged local authorities to bid for funding for flood schemes but said they needed to come up with ‘good schemes’ to met the criteria.
He said: “These stop a lot of trauma and misery.
It’s tough and I’m very sympathetic to the people in the homes affected in Kempsey.”
Twenty homes flooded in Kempsey in November after a gauge failed which meant the pumps did not work properly.
MP Harriett Baldwin said: “Since I was elected, six different flood defence schemes costing almost £9 million have been built in west Worcestershire.”
Grahame Bunn, who ran the King’s Head in Upton for 12 years, said the pub suffered six major floods. He struggled to get flood insurance after a £360,000 payout following the floods of July 2007 when the pub closed for nine months. He said: “I think the defences are fantastic. They have secured the future of the town. I think they have enhanced the riverside.
Some said it would be like the Berlin Wall.”
Andrea Morgan, the mayor of Upton, said: “It has been a real asset to the town.” However, she said she would like to see Hanbury Road raised to protect it from flooding.
Flood warnings are in force at Holt Fleet, Bevere, north Worcester, south Worcester, Callow End and Court Meadow, Kempsey, East Waterside at Upton, Hanley Road at Upton, Rectory Road, Upton, Clifton and Severn Stroke.
No significant rainfall is expected this week.