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FLOODS EMERGENCY EXERCISE TO TEST AUTHORITIES' RESPONSE CAPABILITIES

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'Exercise Triton' scenario imagines devastating flooding along South, ...
'Exercise Triton' scenario imagines devastating flooding along South,

East and Welsh coasts

A major national exercise to test the resilience of the systems in

England and Wales to react to a major coastal flood emergency is

taking place today.

Exercise Triton will test how the national civil contingencies

systems reacts to an extreme coastal flooding event that would affect

huge stretches of the English and Welsh coastlines.

The imaginary scenario posits a North sea tidal surge which breaches

defences from the Humber estuary southwards. The scenario assumes

huge storms have hit the East coast of the US in the preceding

fortnight.

The low pressure system has then been tracked across the Atlantic

before hitting the UK and Western Europe. Decision-makers will have

to simulate the choices and decisions they would face as the storms

arrived. In this scenario the Thames Barrier will not be breached and

London will not be flooded.

The exercise is 'tabletop' only - there will be no live activity on

the ground.

Environment minister Elliot Morley said:

'The scenario is an unlikely one but it's important that we test our

preparedness.

'Whilst climate change might make extreme events more likely in the

future, it is important for us to carry out exercises such as Triton

now as such rare events could of course happen at any time, as

happened in 1953.'

'50 years after floods devastated parts of the East Coast, with the

loss of 300 lives in England, our ability to predict flooding and our

coastal defences are hugely improved. In addition, this year the

government is spending around£500m to protect against floods.'

Triton forms part of the wider cross-governmental emergency exercise

programme which is designed to test resilience and preparedness

across a range of disruptive challenges and crises.

John Harman, chairman of the Environment Agency said:

'The Environment Agency maintains and operates 36,000 kilometres of

flood defences in England and Wales. These flood defences are only

part of the picture. We also have the expertise and procedures in

place to ensure that we can react as effectively as possible to a

major flooding incident should the need arise.

'We constantly test and review our flooding procedures. Exercise

Triton will help to make sure that we are ready for the most extreme

circumstances.'

The exercise has been scheduled for a year. It has been organised as

part of an ongoing programme requested by Mr Morley following

flooding in Easter 1998.

Note

Senior decision-makers across England and Wales are involved in

the exercise, covering central, regional and local government and the

emergency services. These will include representatives from -

Defra, DoH, DfT, DTI, Home Office, ODPM, Cabinet Office, Welsh

Assembly Government, the Environment Agency, MoD, police, regional

government, county councils, fire brigade and the ambulance service.

The RNLI are also involved.

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