Man-made dams and restored peat bogs are among options being considered to retain water in the hills and valleys of the Severn, and prevent flooding down-river.

The Environment Agency in England says it is considering a range of natural flood defence interventions for the Severn in a bid to reduce the impact of flooding down-river – including ripping out paved areas and replacing them with more permeable surfaces.

Now, residents in Shropshire and north Powys will run the rule over a long term plan to reduce flooding on the river this month after the agency launched a consultation on its plans, set to run until May.

It could see man-made dams and restored peat bogs used to retain water higher up the Severn's catchment areas, with a focus on retaining water up-stream and “slowing the flow” of water running into the river to reduce flood surges down-stream.

A document accompanying the proposals also outlines the use of temporary “flood water storage areas”, which reduce flooding downstream by capturing incoming flood flows and releasing them downstream at a slower, more controlled rate.


But it could also see hard-standing areas removed to help water soak away in area with particular issues down-river.

“As with most urban areas, there is a high proportion of impermeable paving throughout towns across the catchment,” the Environment Agency says.

“However, impermeable paving exacerbates flooding downstream, which leads to numerous economic and environmental problems; such as the diversion of polluted storm waters directly into nearby water bodies.

“De-paving in areas with high proportions of concrete and asphalt can include measures such as the replacement of impermeable paving with permeable alternatives as well as complete removal of paved areas. This allows for greening and ground roughening with trees and plants.

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“In areas like car parks, if we carefully consider only the areas strictly necessary for cars and pedestrian movement, we can de-pave the leftover spaces. This process is also applicable in public spaces and urban plazas.”

This consultation is being run by the Severn Valley Water Management Scheme(SVWMS), which is led by a partnership of the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, Shropshire Council and Powys County Council.

The organisation says the scheme is being developed in response to significant flooding of the River Severn in recent decades which has damaged homes and businesses, impacted local infrastructure and disrupted travel.

David McKnight, Flood and Coastal Risk Manager at the Environment Agency said: “Delivering the SVWMS is a long-term solution to sustainable water management, and we are right at the beginning of a complex journey to achieve our vision.

“We want to hear from all areas of the Severn community as we embark on the transformation programme that the catchment needs to be able to adapt to our changing climate and continue to thrive.”

The consultation is available to view on the Environment Agency website, and runs until May 21.