16th February 2021

A Vyrnwy scale dam just upstream of Shrewsbury has for the time being has been ‘parked’.
The planning application for the North West Relief Road will be submitted in the next few days by Shropshire Council showing a viaduct crossing the flood plain and Severn. In other words, there will be no bund (large bank) or dam, but instead the road will be supported on concrete pillars and as such will not interfere with the flow of the river. The first pictures of this have been released to the press.
This change of heart is the result of several factors:
• The hard work everyone has put into highlighting the dangers associated with trying to hold back 60 million cubic meters of water above Shrewsbury
• The funding streams and construction timelines for a bridge/dam combination have been found to be unworkable
• There is the stark realisation that the geology of the land above Shrewsbury is not suitable for constructing a dam safely,
• This dam would see people driven out of their homes and the destruction of jobs and the environment.
This is not to say it has been clamped, towed away or better still scrapped. We are still concerned the plans could be amended at a later date.
We now need to ensure that the ill-conceived idea of putting a Vyrnwy scale dam upstream of Shrewsbury is permanently consigned to the dustbin of history.
Quite rightly the Severn Valley Water Management Team (Environment Agency) has gone back to the drawing board to look at options. We all know there are a variety of strategies available ranging from better operations of the Vyrnwy and Clywedog to sustainable water land and water management under the new Environmental Land Management scheme.
Technical options were discussed by Shropshire Cabinet last September. These included a ‘dam’ or series of dams further upstream and these ideas are now being worked on and will undoubtable have implications for everyone living and working along the river as well as the ecology of the whole region.
What can you do? Turn this lock down to your advantage. Most of us have a key board so make a cup of tea and take a few minutes to write three very short letters: one to your councillor, and a couple more to your MP and the leader of Shropshire Council.
It is imperative we ask what is being done behind closed doors and why the secrecy? We must get clarity on the situation going forward.

10th January 2021

Happy New Year everyone,

Hope you are all keeping well & safe during this lockdown?

A quick update for you as we steel ourselves through these cold winter days and look ahead to the first signs of Spring,

hopefully a drier affair this year after the epic flooding of 2020, although I think I’ll keep my waders to hand!

  • Our own SOS PR Champion Rhian Wilson, has published a super article in the Farmers Weekly to give national coverage of the effect on agricultural land of the dam proposals.
  • The conservation & engagement group “Unlocking The Severn” are holding virtual talks 21st Jan 7pm to share the story of the twaite shad fish, one of the UKs rarest fish that migrate back to the River Severn

       Their website has a lot of educational material, and interactive studies for students and schools.


What’s next?

We are trying to obtain more info regarding the transfer of the management of the proposals to the Severn Valley Water Management Scheme (SVWMS) and EA.

We await the plans from Shropshire Council regarding the NWRR, due for February, though not containing dam or flood prevention measures. However, the fight is not over!

This could be amended at a further date so we will continue to keep you informed and raise awareness.

In the meantime, Stay safe everyone

30th November 2020

We wanted to share with you an update from our correspondence over the last few weeks and ask for your help. Our interaction has mostly been through online Parish Council meetings (Alberbury & Cardeston, Kinnerley, Montford & Bicton and the Melverley Flood Forum) with various representatives attending from Shropshire Council, the River Severn Partnership and Environment Agency.

SOS is calling for your help, to send out letters using our template as a guide. If you know of anyone who would like a hand with sending out our letters, please don’t hesitate to ask.

We are deeply concerned that adequate consultation time will not take place over the River Severn Partnership proposals. We believe Shropshire Council is trying to push this through as quietly as possible and sadly, Covid is playing into their hands as many residents will be unable to attend local meetings.

At the Alberbury Parish Council (PC) on 19th October Mark Barrow from Shropshire County Council and Adam Lines from the Environment Agency promised a website would be set up within weeks. During this meeting residents were also told Melverley would be worse hit.

However, weeks later, there is still no website and RSP state they are having “technical issues”. Mark Barrow also told another Parish Council meeting that ‘Alberbury residents’ would be worst affected, specifically those on the Loton estate.

We seem to be going around in circles with no clarification and Mark Barrow appears to be telling each parish council different things to divide and rule.

Therefore, we are asking as many people as possible to send a letter to their MP and Shropshire Council, urging them to give us assurances a proper consultation period will be adhered to, as per government guidelines, and ALL residents will be consulted.

Here’s how you can help:

1. Personalise the letter template (available on the right of this page, or attached to our email), explaining how plans will affect you, and send it to your local councillor/MP and Shropshire council
2. Please ensure you send it to your local councillor and MP where you live. You can find this information by clicking on the links below:

3. Send it to the Shropshire Council Chief Executive. 

4. Please email us and let us know who you’ve sent the letter to, so we can keep a count of how many letters have been sent in total and let us know if you have a reply.

Thank you for your continued suppoer!

7th November 2020

Continued thanks to our members within the Angling community.

Read our latest article in the November issue of Angling times here.

12th October 2020
Plans to build a dam near Shrewsbury have come under fire, after research has revealed it will only be big enough to hold back floodwater for less than three days. Campaign group Save Our Severn requested information from the council and Environment Agency months ago but neither responded. Frustrated, the group commissioned an independent person to carry out extensive computer modelling to find out how much water the proposed dam would hold in the event of a flood.

The council’s current plan is for the dam to be built one mile from Shrewsbury town centre. It would hold approximately 60 million cubic meters of water – around the same volume as Lake Vyrnwy. This body of water could be held throughout the summer to maintain river levels through periods of drought. Save Our Severn says the research, based Environment Agency data from the 2000 floods, has revealed worrying flaws:

• It would overflow within just 2.5 days in full flood.

• To keep the river level below Shrewsbury’s floodplain, where the council plan to build up to 2,000 new houses, the dam wall would have to be 2.6m higher than current proposals.

• It would need to hold at least another 100 million cubic meters of water.

• To achieve this, the depth of the dam wall would need to increase from 9.2m to 11.8.

• The dam would follow 25-miles of the River Severn. The average depth along this route would be 2.8m, making it very inefficient in comparison to Lake Vyrnwy which has an average depth of 13m.

Save Our Severn says this shows the authorities would have to build a much larger dam and risk flooding hundreds of properties upstream from the dam and into Wales.

They estimate, once the dam overflows, it would have to submerge nearly 14,000 acres of agricultural land – almost double what the council are currently predicting – or else it could flood the proposed new development and houses in Shrewsbury.

A spokesperson from Save Our Severn said: “This multi-million, mega dam is going to be a very expensive waste of taxpayers’ money. “These are all issues we have raised with Daniel Kawczynski MP and the Environment Agency months ago and we have had no reply. It’s completely unacceptable but really does show how ill-thought out these proposals are.”

Map below showing two possible reservoir levels

(59.2m is the proposed and the higher is the level required to hold the 2000 flood).

For information and further details of these maps, or to see if you will be affected by these proposals, subscribe to Save Our Severn newsletters

2nd October 2020

An action group has been launched to challenge council proposals to introduce a dam to the River Severn and instead seek a long-term, sustainable solution to flooding in the county.
Save Our Severn has been set up by Shropshire residents who are angry and frustrated they have not been clearly informed of the council’s proposals and are gravely concerned the dam could cause catastrophic flooding of homes and businesses north of the barrage.
The plan has been submitted by Severn River Partnership, a consortium including the Environment Agency, Shropshire council and Severn Trent.
If it gets the green light, it could see a dam or embankment built along the proposed North West Relief Road, either at Shelton or somewhere on the England-Wales border.
Issues with the proposals
Severn River Partnership claim the dam would protect 2,500 homes south of Shrewsbury from flooding and pave the way for a massive development of up to 47,000 new homes on the existing floodplain, including seven sites owned by Shropshire Council.
Save Our Severn has consulted advisors whom state that in order to safeguard future flooding events on the existing floodplain the council would need to build an enormous dam, much bigger than the one proposed. Advisors calculate the current proposed dam only has the capacity to hold a few days peak flow.
A representative from the Environment Agency sources has said the proposals could substantially raise water levels upstream. This would put properties in Wales in jeopardy and serious affect the villages of Melverley and Pentre.
It could mean large parts of the county would become no-go flood zones with homes becoming uninhabitable.
Furthermore, scientific studies have shown dams can cause serious environmental and ecological damage with evidence suggesting it may even increase greenhouse gas emissions.
Failure to respond to residents
Concerned residents said they wrote to project proponent Daniel Kawczynski MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, Shropshire Council and the Environment Agency in August voicing their concerns and requesting answers but failed to receive any reply.
Save Our Severn has now sent a letter to Mr Kawczynski and written to joint chairs of the River Severn Partnership, Professor Mark Barrow of Shropshire Council, and Mike Grimes, of the Environment Agency, asking for immediate engagement.
Alternatives sought
The dam is a short-term solution at best and with climate change set to worsen and river levels predicted to rise even further, the problem needs tackling at the source, according to Save Our Severn.
It wants to see work carried out to explore how water can be held back or stored at the source, in the Welsh hills, alongside increased uptake of natural flood solutions through support schemes.
One of the founders of Save Our Severn and third generation tenant farmer Sam Barker, whose farm would be flooded if proposals went ahead, said:
“No one wants to see a repeat of the flooding Shropshire experienced this spring. Rivers are set to rise and doing nothing is not an option. However, we think these plans are simply swapping one problem for many others.”
Mr Barker added: “All year-round mud flats are a very different environment compared to the lush, green haven farmers along the river currently manage. The creation of the dam and subsequent, long-term flooding would destroy thousands of acres of hedgerows and stewardship ground that are home to birds, hares, and even endangered species like curlew.
“We need a sustainable, long-term solution that will benefit everyone and protect homes and businesses for generations to come.”