Flood water breaches temporary Bewdley defences

The river breached temporary defences on Friday night

The River Severn has breached temporary barriers in Worcestershire, flooding homes.

Flood defences at Bewdley “failed” due to rising water levels in the early hours of Saturday, the Environment Agency (EA) said.

One resident said she was woken by the river crashing through barriers and saw a “tidal wave” heading into the town.

“The levels of water were beyond what [the defences] were able to cope with,” said Matthew Lawrence from the EA.

“We’d like to see more permanent defences there.”

The force of the river caused defences to fail

The town suffered widespread flooding last year when river levels rose and poured over the top of barriers at Beales Corner.

Flood warnings have been issued along a stretch of the River Severn including Ironbridge in Shropshire and Upton-upon-Severn in Worcestershire, which saw severe flooding during Storm Dennis in 2020.

Water levels are set to peak later on Saturday and are expected to remain high throughout the weekend.

The River Severn is expected to peak later on Saturday

Irene Buxton, 70, who lives close to the defences on Beales Corner said she was woken by a “crash” as the barriers collapsed at about 23:45 GMT.

“I looked out of the window and it was like a tidal wave going towards the town,” she said.

“The water is in my hall and in my kitchen and we’re just battling to keep it out of the living room.”

Boris Johnson met Environment Agency workers in 2020 to discuss efforts to tackle flooding in the town

The prime minister visited the town in March 2020 in the wake of Storm Dennis, when flood water previously overtopped the defences.

“We had a chat with Boris [Johnson] when he came here,” said Mrs Buxton.

“He promised us some permanent defences and so we’re going to be holding him to that.”

More than 20 flood warnings have been issued for the River Severn

Dan Madden, who had to be helped from his property by the fire and rescue service said it was the second time in 11 months his house had flooded.

He said: “It’s such a shame. It’s only a couple of months since I’ve had it habitable from the last time.

“It’s deeply upsetting for everyone affected.”

Some properties in the town have flooded for the second time in less than a year

River levels are also continuing to rise in Worcester, flooding roads in the city centre.

The city council said the River Severn was set to peak there later, with levels expected to be slightly lower than those reached in the 2020 flood.

The River Severn is set to peak in Worcester on Saturday evening

Source: BBC, 23rd January 2021