A selection of temporary and permanent flood barriers, which would be deployed in emergencies, have been put to the test in Northwich.
100 metres of demountable defences were erected and 14 flood gates were closed as part of a live training exercise by the Environment Agency throughout the town centre on Thursday 20th July.
The exercise is the first time the full set of defences, which can be deployed within three hours, have been tested since the launch of the new Northwich flood alleviation scheme last month.
Over the course of the exercise, Environment Agency teams installed and took down demountable defences to practice their emergency plan for the town and ensured the rapid deployment of the additional flood barriers were in good working order.
The operation gave the agency workers valuable experience on the deployment of the equipment and significantly tested its response to future flooding.
Flood Manager at the Environment Agency, Christian Wilcox said:
The £7 million Northwich flood alleviation scheme reduces the flood risk to around 400 homes and businesses throughout the town. Therefore, it was fantastic to see the full set of demountable defences brought into effective action for the first time.
This was a major test of our operational equipment and allowed us to train up the teams who will work on deploying these defences.
Part of the flooding that Northwich has previously experienced has come directly from the River Dane and we were pleased to see that our road closure at Dane Bridge, during the test of the defences, worked extremely well and would provide a good level of signage and a viable alternative route when we need to deploy the defences in earnest.
Overall, it was great to see our practical strategies for flood protection put into action, via our joint working with the Cheshire West and Chester Council who organised the road closure. I hope such collaborative emergency response plans will give reassurance to residents in Northwich but, it is important to remember that we can never fully protect against flooding.
Residents should always prepare in advance for this by going online at www.gov.uk and signing up for free flood warnings. Alternatively, they can telephone the Environment Agency Floodline on 0845 988 1188 and find out what they can do to protect themselves and their property when flooding hits.