The exercise, which took place at Nesscliffe training ground near Shrewsbury, was based on a significant flood event where an electricity substation was at an immediate risk of flooding. Over 80 soldiers were involved in setting up approximately 150m of 1.25m high temporary flood barrier around the substation. They also practiced sandbagging and setting up high volume water pumps.
Whilst the Environment Agency remains the lead for response to flood events, under certain circumstances support may be requested from the Ministry of Defence, as was the case in the North of England over the New Year period. Today’s exercise was an opportunity for both teams to gain experience working alongside each other in a major flood event scenario. The regiment involved has recently assumed the role of UK Standby Battalion, and as such they could be called on during a large flood event to help reduce the impacts of flooding to communities at risk.
Richard Stockdale, Environment Agency Area Manager for Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire & Gloucestershire said:
This was a great way for all those involved to gain practical experience using essential flood risk management equipment in a safe environment. Practical exercising before flooding means we are prepared and ready to act when a flood actually happens.
Although today’s exercise tested the use of temporary flood defences which can reduce the risk of flooding, they do not work in all circumstances. We still urge the public to take action to protect themselves and their property. They can sign up to the Environment Agency’s flood warning service by calling 0345 988 1188.
Lieutenant Colonel Graham Shannon, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment said:
We have relished the opportunity to work in support of the Environment Agency, to test our procedures and understanding those of another government department. We are ready to work alongside the Environment Agency should flooding happen in the future.
We take our role in civil resilience very seriously and experience has shown that we can work in support of the Environment Agency easily and utilise our manpower to exploit their expertise.