Residents plead with PM to upgrade defences after town flooded for third year

Residents of a town in Worcestershire have pleaded with the Prime Minister to upgrade flood defences after being washed out for the third year in a row.

The town of Bewdley, situated on the bank of the River Severn, has suffered from flooding for three consecutive years after temporary flood barriers failed.

During a visit in March 2020, Boris Johnson was heckled by residents and branded a “traitor” for failing to meet badly-affected communities during the height of the flooding.

Mr Johnson claimed he would “get Bewdley done”, but more permanent defences are yet to be put in place.

Winter weather Jan 23rd 2021
Winter weather Jan 23rd 2021

Entire streets and gardens were left underwater in the wake of Storm Christoph last week, and many homes were left damaged.

Water levels in the River Severn peaked on Saturday at 5.4 metres, around the same as last year, according to Dave Throup of the Environment Agency.

Mr Throup tweeted that some flood defences in Bewdley had been breached overnight on Friday.

LIVE – River Severn peaking at #bewdley at 5.4m

Almost the same level as February 2020.

— Dave Throup (@DaveThroupEA) January 23, 2021

Resident Dan Madden told Sky News that his stress levels were “through the roof” after his home was flooded for the second time, and would be homeless for months while it was repaired.

“It took me years and years to buy a house in the town I love and it’s flooded twice in two years,” he said.

“I just hope Boris gets us the permanent barrier done.”

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Bewdley
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Bewdley

Temporary flood defences were erected in the town in both 2019 and 2020 as the National Audit Office warned that the share of funding for flood defences going to deprived areas had “reduced substantially” in recent years.

Last year, Bewdley was among the worst-hit areas in England.

During his 2020 visit, Mr Johnson received a mixed reception, as while many locals greeted him warmly, one person told him to “do your f****** job” as he posed with teenagers for a selfie on a bridge in the town.