After a busy few weeks in which the Severn has been close to bursting its banks, the waters have receded to normal levels and Worcester’s MP took the opportunity of a lull in operations to visit the team who have been manning the Tewkesbury incident room of the Environment Agency for the West Midlands.

During the 2014 floods in Worcester, Robin was frequently out with Dave Throup and other representatives of the EA monitoring flooding in Worcester, inspecting the defences on Hylton Road and suggesting ways in which the city could be better protected in future. Friday’s visit provided an opportunity for him to meet the forecasters and flood-warners who help to keep people safe in Worcester and to thank them for all their hard work in recent weeks.

Robin met the local area team, led by Richard Stockdale Area Manager for Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire and Gloucestershire and Anthony Perry, the Flood Risk Manager. He happened to be in the building at the same time as the newly appointed CEO of the EA, James Bevan. He discussed with him how important Worcester’s flood plain is for the city and how the council has prioritised keeping the vital green spaces that allow parts of Worcester to flood without the majority of homes and business being affected. Robin explained the importance of his campaign for dualling the Carrington Bridge to improve the city’s flood resilience and welcomed the plans to raise the level of New Road during the current year as well as the decision of Worcester City Council to plant thousands more trees in the city, something that could help drainage and reduce the risk of surface water flooding.

Mr Bevan set out that he was determined that the EA would improve its relationships with local partners such as councils, water companies and farmers to ensure that everything that could be done to prevent flooding was being considered. He said that he supported dredging where it could be shown to make a difference and agreed that the EA would look into whether it could make any difference to flood risk in Worcester. Their traditional stance has been that given the scale of the River Severn and the huge amount of sediment carried in it, dredging would make little difference to flood risk in Worcester, but they have agreed to have another look.

Robin also set out how the Hylton Road bund has helped to protect homes and businesses, how flood defences are being improved in Diglis, Barbourne and how some communities such as the residents of Toronto Close had got together and arranged their own flood defences, something he showed to the DEFRA secretary when she visited the city in 2015. Robin recently asked the floods minister at DEFRA questions for a meeting with the city and the EA to ensure that necessary repairs are completed to the Barbourne culvert and he discussed the progress with this work too.

Following the meeting, Robin commented

“Worcester has become famous for its floods but on this occasion the high waters have been more spectacular than damaging and that is welcome. Although we have seen some terrible flooding the North of the country, the response of the statutory and emergency services has been exceptional and, as it was in Worcester in 2014, the coordination has been excellent. I am glad to see that Government is acting faster than ever to compensate affected businesses and help households and businesses to recover.”

“The EA do vital work forecasting and warning so that they can keep people and property safe. Their flood defences in Worcester already make a massive difference and millions are being invested in making them even stronger. I was pleased to be able to thank the staff at Tewkesbury who have been working hard during the recent period of high water and I hope that they get a bit of a break in the weeks to come. In particular it was good to see some of their high technology equipment for predicting flood risks and getting out warnings.”

“Floods will always be a major concern for me as MP for Worcester and even when the waters recede, it is right to be planning for what we can do to improve resilience in the city. I would encourage all local residents to keep an eye on the EA’s website, to use the information on it and to make sure that they are insured. It is good news that the Flood re scheme, shortly to be launched by this Government will mean that insurance is more readily available to those who have suffered from flooding.”

Notes to editors

For more information on the EA and its work locally see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/environment-agency

For the latest flood warnings broken down by geography see:

http://apps.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood/31618.aspx

For details of the Government’s response to flooding in Winter 2015 see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/winter-flooding-2015

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/continued-support-for-communities-ahead-of-further-heavy-showers

For details of the Flood re scheme due to launch in April 2016 see:

Home

For information on how to prepare for flooding visit

https://www.gov.uk/floodsdestroy

For Robin’s previous releases on flooding see:

https://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-backs-riba-campaign-to-build-a-better-britain/

http://www.westmidlandsconservatives.com/news/walker-praises-local-businesses-and-residents%E2%80%99-response-floods

For his recent Parliamentary questions see:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm160105/debtext/160105-0003.htm#160105-0003.htm_spnew14

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm151105/debtext/151105-0001.htm#151105-0001.htm_wqn14

For his recent speech on housing in which he addressed the importance of protecting the flood plain see: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm151215/debtext/151215-0003.htm#151215-0003.htm_spnew138