Military personnel have played a key role in reducing the flood risk by assisting the Environment Agency in their flood defence inspections.
Thirty military personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force were trained last month by the Environment Agency to act as flood defence assessors. The task was part of the Military Aid to other Government Departments programme.
The Environment Agency requested support from the MOD in order to speed up completion of their inspection programme by building capacity in their response as a whole. Some flood defences across England were put under significant pressure from the impact of Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank.
The Environment Agency deployed their own flood defence inspectors throughout England to the areas affected by flooding to carry out urgent inspections to assess their condition and to identify any necessary repairs. The support from the MOD helped to ensure that assessments in other parts of the country could be completed as quickly as possible.
Armed Forces Minister, Penny Mordaunt, said:
Following an exceptionally wet winter our skilled men and women from the Armed Forces have been making a real difference, helping the Environment Agency to protect the public from future flooding. This continued assistance demonstrates the value of our military services not only in war fighting but in contingency operations as well.
The military, who were tasked to undertake the inspections by the Armed Forces Minister Penny Mordaunt, helped with the inspection of more than 10,000 flood defences from the South of England to North Yorkshire since the beginning of February.
The military personnel travelled along coastlines and rivers using electronic tablets to record and report the condition of embankments, flood walls, outfalls and barriers to the Environment Agency.
Joint Military Commander for the operation, Brigadier John Ridge, said:
Building on the strong relationships that we built with the Environment Agency over Christmas and the New Year, I judge that our collaborative work on flood defence inspections has been highly successful. The 30 personnel began their work to support the Environment Agency on 15th February and they have done well to help accelerate the completion of the inspection programme.
Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said:
We have a strong partnership with the Army and worked with them closely to help communities affected by flooding during December’s record-breaking wet weather. Now our vital recovery work is underway, the military have worked with our teams in areas around the country to finish our routine flood defence inspections. This is essential work which enables us to prioritise any repairs needed and ensure that homes and businesses are well protected.