Press release

Army and Environment Agency join forces to be ‘winter ready’

Wiltshire-based troops have carried out a ‘winter ready’ training day with the Environment Agency in a bid to provide even more flood support for vulnerable communities across the Thames region.

Throughout the year, military personnel have taken part in training exercises across the country to make sure they are prepared to reduce the impacts of floods across the UK. Last week it was Wiltshire’s turn with troops from 5th Battalion the Rifles and The King’s Royal Hussars carrying out flood defence training with the Environment Agency’s Operations Delivery team.

Part of the training involved erecting temporary barriers which work by creating an artificial wall to block the flow of water across the floodplain - preventing it from reaching those properties at risk without increasing the impact of flooding elsewhere.

Temporary flood defences are a short term means of limiting the impacts of flooding, for a limited period of time. These products are then entirely removed from site afterwards and have no fixed foundation, requiring only minor work in preparation (for example, vegetation clearance, levelling the ground) to enable their use.

Operations Manager for the Environment Agency, Maria Herlihy said:

We have a strong partnership with the Army and have worked closely with them to help communities affected by flooding in previous years. This crucial partnership will strengthen our resilience, enabling battalions to be on hand to help with erecting temporary flood barriers, providing engineering and logistics support, and assisting with the evacuation of affected communities.

Following the winter flooding last year, more than 1,200 troops across the country have been put on 24-hour standby to help in the event of flooding this winter. As part of the Government’s drive for winter preparedness, the Ministry of Defence has also reviewed the way that the military supports authorities and made the mobilisation process easier during major flood incidents.

Notes to editor

Temporary defences are not a substitute for a permanent scheme but can be used until such a time as a permanent scheme is feasible or complete. Where permanent defences are already planned or under development, the use of temporary barriers will not detract from the viability of that scheme.