What was the reason behind the flood of River Severn in 2007?

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By Kristy Tolley

The River Severn is the longest river in the United Kingdom, stretching for over 220 miles from its source in the Welsh mountains to the Bristol Channel. The river is a vital source of water for the areas it passes through, and also plays an important role in transportation, fishing, and tourism. However, the river is also prone to flooding, with several major floods occurring throughout its history. One of the most notable floods in recent years took place in 2007, causing widespread damage and disruption.

The River Severn

The River Severn is a major waterway in the United Kingdom, flowing through several counties including Powys, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, and Somerset. The river has a catchment area of over 11,000 square kilometers, meaning that it receives water from a large surrounding area. The River Severn has a long history of flooding, with some of the most severe floods occurring in 1795, 1947, and 2000.

The Flood of 2007

The flood of 2007 was one of the worst floods to hit the River Severn in recent years. The flood affected several areas along the river, including Gloucester, Tewkesbury, and Worcester. The floodwaters caused widespread damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure, and led to the evacuation of thousands of people. The flood also caused significant disruption to transportation, with many roads and railways being closed or damaged.

Causes of the Flood

Several factors contributed to the flood of 2007, including heavy rainfall, storms and tides, climate change, and human activities such as agriculture and land use.

Heavy Rainfall

One of the main causes of the flood was heavy rainfall, which led to the river overflowing its banks. The months leading up to the flood had been unusually wet, with some areas receiving up to twice their normal rainfall. This meant that the ground was already saturated, and any additional rainfall was unable to soak in, leading to runoff and flooding.

Storms and Tides

Another factor that contributed to the flood was a combination of storms and high tides. The river had already been swollen by heavy rainfall when a series of storms hit the area, bringing even more rain and strong winds. This coincided with high tides, which caused the river to back up and worsened the flooding.

Climate Change

Climate change is also thought to have played a role in the flood of 2007. Rising global temperatures can lead to more extreme weather events, including heavy rainfall and storms. While it is difficult to attribute any single flood to climate change, the increasing frequency and severity of flooding in recent years is consistent with the predictions of climate scientists.

Human Activities

Human activities such as agriculture and land use can also contribute to flooding. The intensification of agriculture in the areas surrounding the River Severn has led to increased runoff, as fields are drained faster and water is channelled into the river. Deforestation and urbanisation can also increase runoff and make floods more likely.

Flood Protection Measures

Following the flood of 2007, several flood protection measures were put in place along the River Severn. These included improvements to flood defences, such as raising walls and building flood barriers, as well as better warning systems and emergency response plans. The government also provided funding for flood prevention schemes and river maintenance work.

Lessons Learned

The flood of 2007 highlighted the need for better flood preparedness and response measures. It also showed the importance of taking a holistic approach to flood prevention, taking into account factors such as land use and climate change.


The flood of 2007 was a devastating event for the communities along the River Severn. However, it also served as a wake-up call, highlighting the need for better flood protection measures and a more proactive approach to flood prevention. While no single solution can prevent all floods, taking a comprehensive approach that considers multiple factors can help to reduce the risk of future flooding and its impact on people and the environment.

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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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