PEOPLE who live near the River Severn are being given the chance to join a new Citizens Panel which will influence future decision making on how it is managed.

Nearly 6,000 homes receive a letter from the Environment Agency last week inviting them to join the panel to discuss water management and climate change impacts in the area and help “create a positive future” for the river and its tributaries.

The Severn is the longest river in Britain and forms “an integral part of life for those who live around it”, the Environment Agency (EA) says.

“It is a haven for wildlife, an essential transport route, a great place for leisure activities and a vital source of water for people living and working in its catchment.  

“With the increasing challenges of flooding and drought, the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales (Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru) and the River Severn Partnership are working together to gather residents’ opinions on how to manage these issues and when.”  

The organisations are looking for 20 participants across the area in England and Wales, and say their recommendations will be shared with all three partners to “inform future decision-making”.  

Registrations are open until Sunday, October 8 and details are included in the letter that randomly selected households have received. 

Participants don’t need any prior knowledge but need to be willing to commit to a total of 12 hours over several workshops.  

Marc Lidderth, Place Manager and River Severn Partnership lead for the Environment Agency said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for those who live near to the River Severn and its tributaries to help inform the plans of the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales (Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru), and other local partners to meet the challenge of extreme weather events and their impact.  

“We want to hear from a diverse range of local people across the catchment on their personal views about climate change, the impacts of severe weather and to share their lived experience. 

“I look forward to hearing what the panel has to say to build recommendations for how we tackle the climate challenges we face.”