MY heart goes out to everybody who has been affected by the serious flooding following the recent storms.

West Worcestershire has three major rivers running through it – the Severn, the Teme and the Avon – and flooding has been an inevitable fact of life from time immemorial, but in recent years we have invested millions in making sure we are much more resilient during floods.

In West Worcestershire, we have six permanent flood defences schemes at Pershore, Powick, Uckinghall, Kempsey and two in Upton-upon-Severn and the road through Ryall and along the New Road in Worcester have been raised, keeping access open nearly all the time.

There is more to do, with a planning application going in for Severn Stoke flood defences and I’m campaigning for permanent flood defences in Tenbury Wells and for the Hanley Road to be raised.

Only last month, I raised my continued concerns about flooding in Tenbury Wells and Severn Stoke in Parliament. I have already written to formally ask the Secretary of State for the Environment to move these recently flooded communities to the top of their list. I think we also need to look at the height of the Powick bund once again, as it overtopped this time. It was a manifesto commitment to add £4 billion to permanent schemes in this Parliament and I’d like to see some of that spent locally.

On behalf of my constituents, I’d like to thank the professional teams who have worked round the clock to keep us safe – the Environment Agency, the police, the fire service, the councils, local highways and the ambulance and air ambulance teams.

The coordination has been outstanding and social media and local radio have been essential tools for sharing vital information.

There have also been armies of volunteers who have come forward to help – manning emergency shelters, operating river rescue services or just those who come out to lend a hand or offer someone a lift.

It is at times like this that we see the best in our fellow human beings and I am sure you will join me in saying thanks to everyone.

Finally, please make sure you shop locally. The extra resilience, and cash grants for flooded households and businesses has meant that lots of shops and businesses have stayed open or reopened quickly. All our local towns are open for business.