Flood defences along River Severn in Shropshire 'could overtop' as more rain predicted

Flood defences at several points along the River Severn in Shropshire and Worcestershire could be breached imminently, it is feared.

Major incidents have been declared as water levels along the Severn continue to rise, West Mercia Police said.

Severe flood warnings, meaning a danger to life, have been issued by the Environment Agency for Ironbridge and Bewdley due to a risk the temporary flood defences could be overtopped within the next 24 hours.

Residents in affected areas have been contacted directly and advised where evacuation may be necessary. Some on social media are reporting homes are already beginning to flood in Ironbridge.

Flood barriers in both locations are forecast to exceed their capacity and overtop during Tuesday, the Environment Agency said.

A children's playground submerged by floodwater after the River Severn burst its banks at Bewdley in Worcestershire. Credit: PA

Meanwhile, the Environment Agency has urged communities in parts of the West Midlands and the north of England to be prepared for significant flooding until Wednesday.

It issued severe flood warnings, meaning a “danger to life” for Ironbridge and Bewdley where the temporary flood defences face being overtopped.

Recent nationwide storms – named Dudley, Eunice and Franklin – left 1.4 million households without electricity, some for up to 72 hours, with latest figures showing just under 30,000 still without power as of Monday afternoon and residents in some areas told to evacuate.

A general view of Ironbridge, Shropshire, following high winds and wet weather. Credit: PA

As a result, the Environment Agency has urged communities in parts of the West Midlands and the north of England, especially those along River Severn, to be prepared for significant flooding until Wednesday following high rainfall from Storm Franklin.

Residents have been urged to exercise extreme caution as rivers could rise rapidly when more rain falls.

Of the 23 flood warnings in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, 12 are on the River Severn, including at Worcester where extra flood pumps have been installed.

Ironbridge and Bewdley was hit by a "once in a lifetime" flood just two years ago, which left scores of homes and businesses ruined.

Telford & Wrekin councillor Shaun Davies, who was on the scene in Ironbridge on Tuesday morning where flooding has hit areas without defences, has called on the central Government to provide a "permanent solution" to flood risks along the river.

He said the situation is “tense” and local authorities have evacuated around 60 properties in the area.

He said: "Some properties have no protection from flood defences and are still under water, and we have evacuated properties behind defences that could be breached while supporting those who have decided to stay put.

"We are doing all we can to support residents and are preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.”

He added that, as a “major tourist hotspot” and the only world heritage site in the Midlands, the flooding during half term is a “huge disturbance to local residents after a very challenging two years”.