Environment Agency issues 'risk to life' warning as River Severn locals prepare for flooding peak

Clare Dinnis, Area Director for the West Midlands at the Environment Agency told Will Hollis in an exclusive GB News interview that there is a "risk to life" amid concerns over heavy flooding.

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An Environment Agency director has called on people to evacuate areas surrounding the River Severn as record-high levels of water are expected.

Clare Dinnis, Area Director for the West Midlands at the Environment Agency told Will Hollis in an exclusive GB News interview that there is a "risk to life" amid concerns over heavy flooding.

Ms Dinnis outlined the damage already done by flood water in the area: "We've got very high levels going through Ironbridge, we're expecting the peak to go through tonight.

Water begins to spill behind flood defences along the River Severn at Bewdley in Worcestershire. The Environment Agency has urged communities in parts of the West Midlands and the north of England, especially those along River Severn, to be prepared for significant flooding until Wednesday following high rainfall from Storm Franklin. Picture date: Tuesday February 22, 2022.
Water begins to spill behind flood defences along the River Severn at Bewdley in Worcestershire. The Environment Agency has urged communities in parts of the West Midlands and the north of England, especially those along River Severn, to be prepared for significant flooding until Wednesday following high rainfall from Storm Franklin. Picture date: Tuesday February 22, 2022.

"That peak is going to be at or about the top of these barriers, we're hoping slightly under.

"We've issued a severe flood warning, because of the risk from that, and asked communities to evacuate to stay safe".

Flood water has been lapping up towards the top of flood defences installed in areas surrounding the Ironbridge Gorge.

Debris has been spotted in the flowing water, while some gardens have been flooded as a result of the conditions.

Ms Dinnis insists the moves taken by local authorities, particularly the decision to urge people to evacuate, was "not taken lightly".

"A severe flood warning is very serious and we're aware that we are asking communities to evacuate, what we are talking about here is a risk to life".

The West Midlands Environment Agency Area Director told GB News that residents in immediate danger should "call 999".

"We need them [the locals] to listen to the emergency services and take their advice".

Despite the peak of the high waters expected to pass through the area tonight, Clare Dinnis expects the barriers put in place to remain for "a few days" while the high waters are dealt with.

Flood waters from the River Severn surround The Boat Inn at Jackfield near Ironbridge, Shropshire, following high winds and wet weather. The Environment Agency has urged communities in parts of the West Midlands and the north of England, especially those along River Severn, to be prepared for significant flooding until Wednesday following high rainfall from Storm Franklin. Picture date: Tuesday February 22, 2022.
Flood waters from the River Severn surround The Boat Inn at Jackfield near Ironbridge, Shropshire, following high winds and wet weather. The Environment Agency has urged communities in parts of the West Midlands and the north of England, especially those along River Severn, to be prepared for significant flooding until Wednesday following high rainfall from Storm Franklin. Picture date: Tuesday February 22, 2022.

"The forecast for the end of the week shows slightly less rain at the moment, so hopefully the river will go down to a place where people can be safe again".

GB News' Will Hollis has spoken to locals following calls for them to evacuate from local authorities.

Margaret Webb from Brosely said: "This week being half term as well, the business will suffer as a result of this because they won't take as much money.

"It's pretty bad, but I have seen it worse, a couple of years ago it actually pushed the flood barriers back".

Another resident said locals "might be seeing a bit more" flooding at the moment compared to previous years.

Angela Cooper said: "It's about the same, but it may be a bit more as It's flooding out onto people's gardens more".

Ms Dinnis from the Environment Agency says the events are an example of "climate change happening here and now".

She said: "Three named storms in a week has never happened before, on the River Severn in the last five years we've had three of the top record-breaking floods here.

"This is climate change happening here and now, we've got hundreds of flood warnings out across the country, we will keep updating these as soon as we get the information".