New equipment was tested in an emergency flood response exercise held in Shoreham this morning in preparation for the winter.
The Environment Agency tested the equipment, designed to enable them to respond more rapidly and flexibly to flooding, at the same site on which construction of the Adur Tidal Walls scheme has started to take place.
This video shows staff setting up the temporary flood defence barriers, which consist of thin sheets of metal slotted together which are then covered in a plastic sheet and weighed down by chains.
The agency will be ready to deploy up to 40km of these barriers in the event of serious flooding this winter.
The Environment Agency’s new kit also includes a drone, launched as part of the exercise, which will be able to provide additional information to help coordinate responses on the ground.
An incidence van, one of four mobile communication vans nationwide which would communicate with the headquarters in the event of flooding, was also stationed at the site.
Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, watched the demonstrations take place.
He said: “I have seen for myself how devastating it is when flooding happens.
“It’s quite scary when you see what flooding can do. The economic damage, the emotional damage- it can take a long time for people to recover emotionally.
“Today we are as well prepared as we can be.
“If a place like Shoreham needs a temporary defence, we can deliver that much more quickly.”
But he said it was also up to individuals to make sure they act to minimise the risk of flooding by finding out whether their homes are in a flood risk zone and coming up with a flood plan.
“The Environment Agency is a key player but individuals are just as important,” he said. “Individuals have to take responsibility too.”
It was also announced today that the Environment Agency has awarded a 1 year contract to Stobart Group to store, track, and transport the temporary barriers and other equipment.
The Stobart Group will provide a 24/7 logistics support service throughout the year assisting the Environment Agency before, during, and after any flooding.
Sir Bevan said: “We welcome the contract with Stobart Group that will make us more resilient and improve our ability to get the right equipment to the right places at the right time – helping us to better protect more communities more of the time.”
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