Members of the Royal Anglian Regiment are being trained to support deployment of the temporary flood barriers that reduce the risk of flooding in Lowestoft in the event of a tidal surge.
A training exercise will be held on Saturday 12 December to provide extra manpower to the deployment of the temporary flood barriers this winter. Due to the potential impact of the pandemic on available manpower, the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment will be trained to assemble the defence by the Water Management Alliance on behalf of East Suffolk Council.
Every year, the temporary barriers are tested and those operating the barriers are put through their paces to ensure that East Suffolk Council, supported by the Water Management Alliance, can provide the best possible response to the threat of a North Sea tidal surge. This year, the additional training will ensure that enough manpower is available should the current trained crew be impacted upon by Covid-19.
The exercise will be held at Belvedere Road where approximately 100m of the barrier will be deployed.
Cllr David Ritchie, East Suffolk’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Coastal Management said: “It is essential that we have enough resource to deploy the temporary flood barriers to avoid the severity of flooding experienced by people and businesses in 2013. If required, the temporary flood barriers are deployed in places around the town where flooding was at its worst at that time. We are incredibly grateful to the Royal Anglian Regiment for their support.”
The Commanding Officer of 3 Royal Anglian, Lt Col Wolfe MBE said: “This has given the soldiers the opportunity to work with the equipment so that if called upon, they will be ready for the challenge.
“Our soldiers live and work across the county and I know would be the first to step forward to support their community in a crisis. The Army is already supporting the Department of Health and Social Care during the COVID-19 pandemic and will stand ready this winter to support the Environment Agency should the need arise.”
In 2016, 1400m of fully-removable barriers were acquired using over £400,000 of funding secured by the former Waveney District Council from the Regional Flood and Coast Committee. The temporary scheme is designed to help reduce the risk of tidal flooding to people, homes and infrastructure whilst the permanent flood protection scheme progresses.
In the event of a tidal surge, temporary barriers will be constructed in a position to best protect the most vulnerable areas from flooding. Barriers will be deployed in four areas around the harbour; alongside Kirkley Ham, Waveney Road, Belvedere Road and Commercial Road.
The barriers were purchased to provide protection for the town whilst a permanent flood scheme, known as the Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project, is created. This scheme is underway, with construction of flood walls and a pumping station to reduce the risk of flooding from the river and from extreme rainfall. The first phase of construction of the tidal defences will also begin later in 2020.