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River Severn Partnership shortlisted for prestigious LGC Award

The River Severn Partnership project from Shropshire Council and their partner organisations has been shortlisted for a national Local Government Chronicle (LGC) award. Shropshire Council is a founding member of Britain's Leading Edge and we're delighted at their success.

The prestigious LGC awards, held each year, acknowledge and showcase the tremendous effort of those in local government dedicating themselves to supporting local communities, facing challenge after challenge, but never giving up in the face of adversity.

Entrants this year demonstrated outstanding practice as well as cutting-edge innovations, and the judges were very impressed with the extremely high standard.

The River Severn Partnership has been shortlisted for the Public/Public Partnership category of the awards, which highlights how the partnership has brought about service improvements and/or improved efficiency, demonstrated innovation, and how they have added real value to the outcomes in local communities.

The River Severn Partnership is a multi-sector, cross-border collaboration designed to build resilience and prosperity for the 2.6 million people living within the Severn Catchment.

Partners of Shropshire Council include councils – Powys, Telford & Wrekin, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire (also a Britain's Leading Edge member!) and Warwickshire, plus district councils – Environment Agency, Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, Homes England, Severn Trent Water, National Farmers Union, four local enterprise partnerships, local nature partnerships, wildlife trusts, and academic institutions such as Birmingham City University.

Described by Environment Agency as “an outstanding partnership,” it is uniting partners across the Severn Catchment in England and Wales around an integrated approach to resilience in areas blighted by flooding.

Ian Nellins, Shropshire Council’s deputy Leader, and Cabinet member for climate change, environment and transport, said:

“We are delighted to announce that the River Severn Partnership have made it to the final stage of this year’s prestigious LGC Awards. River Severn Partnership has attracted unprecedented levels of funding from the Government and is pioneering a new approach to managing and utilising rivers. I would like to say a huge congratulations to the partnership, who are finalists in the Public/Public Partnership category, and wish everyone the very best of luck and hope they take a well-deserved moment to enjoy what their hard work has achieved.”

The River Seven Partnership covers an area of England and Wales spanning 4,500 square miles, and initially came together in 2019 as a joint response to the cycle of flooding and drought across the Severn Basin that repeatedly causes social, economic, and environmental devastation. Some 117,000 homes and 10,250 businesses are at risk from flooding from the river and, without action, this will continue to increase. At the same time, the region’s population is projected to rise by nearly 350,000 over the next 20 years – bringing challenges around sustainable growth.

By working together the partnership can pool resources and combine expertise to develop a more integrated and effective approach to addressing the challenges posed by climate change. The partnership has a core team, a partnership board with joint chairs, and an all-party caucus of 48 MPs. The full board meets quarterly, and each partner leads a different workstream.

In a short space of time the partnership has attracted substantial funding from the Government, including £35m for the Severn Valley Water Management Scheme and the Tenbury Wells Flood Alleviation Scheme, in addition to pioneering a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs-led pilot that is developing, testing and sharing learning around establishing local decision-making frameworks that address the uncertainty provided by climate change (Adaptive Planning Pilot).

Crucially, River Severn Partnership, the UK’s first strategic rural partnership, has evolved from risk management to asset management. Rather than viewing rivers as a liability, they are leading the way to develop a strategic view of the role rivers play in local service delivery, from economic growth to environmental resilience. In the Severn Catchment rivers are a critical and uniting piece of natural infrastructure that can play a huge part in place shaping. When investment is made in flood defences, it is not simply a matter of preventing flooding - such investment also enables local economies to be sustainable and to thrive.

The shortlisted organisations will now complete presentations and interviews to a specific judging panel made up of senior and influential figures within local government. The winners of the LGC Awards will be announced in June 2024. You can find out more about the LGC Awards at the Awards homepage here.

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