LUDLOW MP Philip Dunne has welcomed confirmation from government that it has activated the Bellwin Scheme for Shropshire, following severe flooding in the county from Storm Dennis.

Through the Bellwin Scheme, the government reimburses the cost of local authority actions taken in the immediate phase of an emergency, including action to safeguard life or property or to prevent suffering or severe inconvenience, in its area or among its inhabitants.

Heavy rainfall from Storm Dennis caused severe flooding of rivers across south Shropshire, with properties and vehicles flooded and many roads impassable.

“We have had severe flooding in parts of south Shropshire, and more rain is forecast, with Severe flood warnings for the Teme and Severn,” said Mr Dunne.

“There has been one tragic loss of life of a woman swept away in the River Teme downstream in Worcestershire.

“The clear priority is to ensure people are safe, and I commend the work of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Environment Agency, Shropshire Council and West Mercia Police in getting help to those in need. Floodwater can be incredibly dangerous so please avoid unnecessary travel in flood affected areas and heed official warnings.

“We clearly need to look again at flood defences in some areas of south Shropshire. Much Wenlock’s attenuation ponds appear to have worked, helping mitigate the damage to homes and businesses, and where flood barriers were erected in neighbouring constituencies to reinforce riverbanks, floodwaters seem to have been directed away from damaging properties.

“While it is too early to assess what might have helped the worst affected areas, such as along the riverbanks in parts of Ludlow, it seems we now need to consider flood barriers for Ludlow, Tenbury and Bridgnorth. Dredging the rivers has been called for by many but can be seen as more of sticking plaster than the long-term solution we need.

“I am pleased the government has stepped in and activated the Bellwin Scheme, which will ensure Shropshire Council are able to take the emergency action they need to, regardless of cost.”

The Environment Agency has specially trained Flood Support Officers across the country who provide information and advice during and after floods. Call Floodline (24-hour service) on 0345 988 1188 or type-talk (for the hard of hearing) on 0345 602 6340.