In a long year that has been dominated by coronavirus and lockdowns, February 2020 seems remote to many people. But it is not a distant for the occupants of the 50 or so homes that were inundated in yet another flood event for our town on 16 February.
Discussions with the Environment Agency and Shropshire Council earlier in the year brought no promise of action. Even on cheap and straightforward schemes such as raising the height of the wall on Temeside. It has long been the case that councils and the Environment Agency have their eyes focused on a few major schemes, not the myriad of small schemes that will help towns like Ludlow.
In recent months, Ludlow residents have reinvigorated the Ludlow Flood Forum. It is seeking views and members.
Way back, maybe in 2005, I was in a meeting in Wallingford, Oxfordshire with the Environment Agency. I was batting for the CPRE opposing an over engineered solution to Oxford’s flooding. The first reaction, then and now, is to pour concrete across the landscape. Sometimes that is essential. But too often concrete simply pushes water downstream, even upstream in the case of Shropshire Council’s dream of using the North West Relief Road as a dam to protect Shrewsbury. The very small schemes, planting trees, recutting overflow channels, creating swales, raising walls, are too often off the radar.
We are obsessed with engineering driven solutions to water management. The softer, community driven solutions rarely get heard.
For Ludlow, we need to recut an overflow channel on the Corve, raise a wall on the Teme and develop Slow the Flow projects upstream. We need a Ludlow flood forum to champion our need to reduce flooding in a system that never seems to get to grips with the problem.
The press release from the Ludlow Flood Forum is below. The LFF is also conducting a survey of residents who have been affected by flooding or have ideas for easing the problem. Questionnaire in Word and PDF.
Press release for Ludlow Flood Forum relaunch
Following the floods which devastated some homes in the town in February this year, local residents have got together to relaunch the Ludlow Flood Forum with the aim of preventing future flooding in our historic town.
“Ludlow’s original Flood Forum was once a vibrant and active group. Now is the time to revive and relaunch this group and for it to be formally re-affiliated with the National Flood Forum,” explained Sarah Dixon, whose home in Corve Street was badly flooded on February 16th.
“Working together as Ludlow Flood Forum will give us the status of an active, official working group, gaining the status and recognition that we need to work alongside Government agencies, local Councils, the Highways Authority and the water company, Severn Trent.”
Ludlow has already been identified as in need of a water management study through the ‘Accelerated Study Project scheme’ which was brought into place by the Government after the floods in February 2020. The study is duty bound to incorporate relevant Government bodies, Local Flood Forums and voluntary agencies undertaking work that impacts flooding.
For Ludlow to achieve the best outcome through the government’s accelerated study, it is essential that the town’s residents engage with the process, working with Government agencies to ensure the study’s actions are implemented and future flooding prevented as far as possible .
“The best way for us residents to engage and support the work is for an action plan to be developed, which will enable us to drive the study from the town’s perspective,” said Sarah Dixon. “We have already started to develop a draft action plan. After the February 2020 flood, Corve St residents were invited to a meeting in The Unicorn to discuss what had happened and any concerns that residents may have. As a result, a list of concerns was compiled to form the beginning of our action plan. We now need to develop these concerns to encompass the whole of the town and formalise the action plan. This is crucially important in preventing future flooding. “
If you would like to be involved with Ludlow Flood Forum, either as a member or as a an active committee member, or advisor, please email S.firstname.lastname@example.org.