Press release

The Environment Agency practises its flood incident response

The Environment Agency will practise putting up a temporary flood defence in Guildford.


On Thursday 17 September the Environment Agency will practise putting up a temporary flood defence on Mary Road, Guildford to test its ways of working in a real flood. The exercise will be a realistic scenario based on the flooding experienced in the winter of 2013 to 2014.

The exercise will be an opportunity to see how temporary flood defences are assembled using removable flood protection products. It will demonstrate how the Environment Agency, and its professional partners, can work together to help defend the most flood-vulnerable areas in Guildford.

Temporary defences can be used to reduce the risk of flooding in some of the most at-risk communities. They can be set up ahead of flooding to help reduce or stop flood water reaching properties.

Guildford is just one of the locations identified as a priority community that could benefit from temporary defences during flooding and further assessment is being carried out. The temporary defence could be used if the Environment Agency had enough warning of a flood, if it was safe to put them up and if they were confident that it would not be overtopped.

Dave Bedlington, Flood Risk Manager, Environment Agency said:

Temporary defences have proved highly effective in protecting properties against the devastating effects of flooding. But, we still continue to investigate and deliver permanent solutions that reduce the risk of flooding in communities.

Although temporary defences reduce the risk of flooding, they do not work in all circumstances. The public should always prepare their property when a flood warning is issued, even if a temporary defence is being put up. They can sign up for the Environment Agency’s flood warning service by calling Floodline at 0345 988 1188.

The Environment Agency and its partners are currently looking at the best long term options for the River Wey catchment. The Wey flood alleviation schemes seek to manage fluvial flood risk in Godalming, Guildford, Old Woking and Byfleet & Weybridge.

During the exercise there will also be an opportunity to see the Environment Agency’s new incident command vehicles. These vehicles are kitted out with the latest technology to improve communication during an incident.

Journalists are invited to see the Environment Agency and Guildford Borough Council practise putting up the temporary flood defence as part of Exercise Obex.

Published 9 September 2015
Last updated 11 September 2015 + show all updates
  1. Minor changes made
  2. First published.