UK Floods – Environment Agency Plans Flood Response Exercises

The Environment Agency in the UK is set to test flood responses in an exercise planned for Thursday 17 September in Guildford, Surrey, south east England.

The EA say that the exercise will be a realistic scenario based on the flooding experienced in the winter of 2013 to 2014 and will involve putting up a temporary flood defence to test its ways of working in a real flood.

The exercise will also be an opportunity to test out the Environment Agency’s new incident command vehicles, which are kitted out with the latest technology to improve communication during an incident.

Environment Agency teams eams putting up demountable barriers in South Ease and Lewes in 2013. Photo: EA
Environment Agency team putting up demountable barriers in South Ease and Lewes in 2013. Photo: EA

Temporary Flood Defences

The exercise will be an opportunity to see how the temporary flood defence is assembled using removable flood protection products. It will demonstrate how the Environment Agency, and its professional partners, can work together to help defend the most flood-vulnerable areas in Guildford.

2012 - Setting up flood barriers East Street Osney and Hinksey Lakes of off of Lake Street Abingdon Road in Oxford. Phot: EA
2012 – Setting up flood barriers in Oxford. Photo: EA

Temporary defences reduce the risk of flooding in some of the most at-risk communities where long term solutions are still being investigated. They can be set up ahead of flooding to help reduce or stop flood water reaching properties.

Dave Bedlington, Flood Risk Manager for the Environment Agency said, “Temporary defences have proved highly effective in protecting properties against the devastating effects of flooding. But, we still continue to investigate and deliver permanent solutions that reduce the risk of flooding in communities”.

Several communities across England have been identified by the Environment Agency as likely to benefit from temporary defences during flooding.

In Guildford, a temporary defence will be stored nearby and the Environment Agency will be able to use this defence system in future flooding. The temporary defence would be used if the Environment Agency had enough warning of a flood, if it was safe to put them up and if they were confident that it would not be overtopped.

Photo; Environment Agency (EA)
Photo: Environment Agency (EA)

Long Term Flood Alleviation Schemes

The Environment Agency and its partners are currently looking at the best long term options for the Guildford area and the River Wey catchment. The Wey flood alleviation schemes seek to manage fluvial flood risk in Godalming, Guildford, Old Woking, and Byfleet and Weybridge.

Floods Destroy – Be Prepared

Although temporary defences reduce the risk of flooding, they do not work in all circumstances. The public should always prepare their property when a flood warning is issued, even if a temporary defence is being put up. They can sign up for the Environment Agency’s flood warning service by calling Floodline at 0345 988 1188.