River ship collision exercise

A MAJOR exercise is being carried out this morning by the Environment Agency simulating an incident where a ship has collided with and demolished a section of the Agency's flood defence wall at Bollard Quay, South Town Road, Great Yarmouth.

A MAJOR exercise is being carried out this morning by the Environment Agency simulating an incident where a ship has collided with and demolished a section of the Agency's flood defence wall at Bollard Quay, South Town Road, Great Yarmouth.

The Agency will be testing, from 4am to 8am, how quickly and effectively a temporary flood defence barrier can be put in place to protect the community left at risk of flooding by the gap in the defences.

The exercise will be made more challenging by simulating the event occurring during the hours of darkness and pretending that a tidal surge, coinciding with a high tide, is expected to hit Great Yarmouth.

Nick Hesp, Operations Delivery Manager for Norfolk and Suffolk said: “The Environment Agency responds on average twice a year to shipping damage (thankfully a lot less drastic than what we are simulating) in Great Yarmouth.

“It is important to ensure resources are in the right place to respond to this type of emergency and it will be a good test of our readiness. As with a real situation, all floodgates in Great Yarmouth will also be closed in accordance with our emergency procedures. To identify areas for improvement, we are going to assess the robustness of out of hours working and the procedures we have in place with our external partners.”

The temporary barrier will be erected and all floodgates closed by 7.15am.

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Mr Hesp added: “We will endeavour to keep disruption to a minimum throughout this exercise and thank local communities for their co-operation and patience.”