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Flood defences put to the test

PUBLISHED: 15:10 20 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:36 03 July 2010

The tidal surge in November 2007 which pushed flood defences to their limit.

The tidal surge in November 2007 which pushed flood defences to their limit.

TIDAL flood gates and boards were put to the test along the Norfolk and Suffolk coast yesterday to check the emergency response to a tidal surge.

Structures of all shapes and sizes were swung into use as part of the Environment Agency's Exercise Seagull.

TIDAL flood gates and boards were put to the test along the Norfolk and Suffolk coast yesterday to check the emergency response to a tidal surge.

Structures of all shapes and sizes were swung into use as part of the Environment Agency's Exercise Seagull.

Key places involved included Great Yarmouth, Felixstowe, Walberswick and Wells, although tests were performed at less high-profile locations, too, such as Waxham and North Gap, near Sea Palling.

At Wells, the quay was closed to allow the sliding flood gate protecting a large part of the town to be tested, with and without mains electricity.

This part of the exercise was attended by the agency's operations delivery manager for Norfolk and Suffolk, Nick Hesp.

He said the test was treated as if it were a real event and deliberately took in the possibility of power failures because of their likelihood during a tidal surge. “It went extremely well. There has been some good feedback and I am very pleased with the results of the day,” he added.

Teething problems came to light, and these would help the agency to decide where improvements were needed, said Mr Hesp.

Tests like these will become more frequent in the face of climate change and rising sea levels.

Wells flood warden Marie Strong said she was pleased that Mr Hesp had clearly appreciated the importance of talking to the local community about the issue.


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