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 on the Wales-England border.

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 – as well as have far reaching consequences across the border in Montgomeryshire, like Llandrinio.

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, just outside Shrewsbury, or somewhere further west on the England-Wales border.

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, however, has consulted advisors who 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.

An Environment Agency source says the proposals could substantially raise water levels upstream – which would put properties in Wales in jeopardy and seriously affect the Shropshire villages of Melverley and Pentre.

It could mean large parts of the county becoming no-go flood zones with homes becoming uninhabitable.

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Furthermore, scientific studies have shown dams can cause serious environmental and ecological damage with evidence suggesting it may even increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Concerned residents 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 have so far 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.

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 is third generation tenant farmer Sam Barker, whose farm would be flooded if proposals went ahead.

“No-one wants to see a repeat of the flooding Shropshire experienced this spring,” said Mr Barker.

“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.

“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.”

For more information on Save Our Severn, visit or email