British Army personnel practise putting up flood barriers in Northampton

Army personnel got to work in Pitsford.
Army personnel got to work in Pitsford.

The Environment Agency, army personnel and the Northamptonshire Local Resilience Forum joined together to deploy a temporary flood barrier yesterday - in preparation for the real thing.

During the exercise, Environment Agency staff and military personnel put up 150 meters of demountable lightweight aluminium defences to test their barrier formation skills.

The exercise took place on Wednesday (September 6) at Pitsford Water and involved 20 members of 2 Prince of Wales Royal Regiment along with 15 Environment Agency staff.

Lieutenant Colonel, Andrew McCombe of the Armed Forces Liason East Midlands said: “Once a year we run an exercise with a county and this year we are playing with Northamptonshire.

"We were in Leicestershire last year, we did a plane crash on the M1. This year we are doing severe river flooding in Northampton.

"We don’t invent exercises we do something from the local risk register and we have not had a big flood in Northampton since about 1998, I think there was a couple of loss of lives.”

Since early 2016, the Environment Agency has invested £12 million pounds into new temporary equipment, including 40km of flood barriers and pumps that can be used around the country.

Ben Thornely, area flood risk manager for the Environment Agency said: "The main purpose is to practise working with the military and to practise putting up temporary barriers that we have.

"We have temporary barriers around the country that we can bring in to a given location and put up if we need to protect communities.

"The purpose of practising in Northamptonshire - we’ve had some devastating floods in the past in Northampton and Northamptonshire - and with the twentieth anniversary of the 1998 flooding next April - we are keen to practise working with professional partners and practise putting up the barriers."