WISBECH: Environment Agency carries out simulation to test flooding emergency response

Story by: TOM JACKSON SIMULATIONS were carried out in Wisbech this week by the Environment Agency, to test responses to a possible tidal flooding emergency. The exercise – codenamed Operation Armageddon – set the scenario that one of the town s flood gate

Story by: TOM JACKSON

SIMULATIONS were carried out in Wisbech this week by the Environment Agency, to test responses to a possible tidal flooding emergency.

The exercise - codenamed Operation Armageddon - set the scenario that one of the town's flood gates along the River Nene had been vandalised, and that high tide was on the way.

Gate 103 - next to the former Nimax store in North End - was used for the exercise, with Environment Agency officers from across the region taking part.


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Colin Richardson, operations delivery engineer for the Environment Agency, said: "It is a requirement for us to practise, because we are an incident response organisation as well as just a workforce."

The simulation pretended that high tide was predicted for 2pm on Tuesday. With Gate 103 'vandalised' for the scenario, one-tonne sandbags arrived on the back of a lorry at noon and were hoisted across the gateway.

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Sandbags are usually kept ready and waiting at Environment Agency depots but, if more are needed, officers would call upon local builder's merchants.

In a real emergency, officers would go along both sides of the river three hours before the predicted high tide time and check each of Wisbech's 26 flood gates were in full working order.

Mr Richardson said: "The exercise was all about being ready for if an emergency should ever occur."

The Wisbech exercise was one of many held across the country, to put the Environment Agency's emergency responses and resources to the test.

Two simulations are currently held each year, but that number is set to increase in the near future.

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