Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


  • Comment
'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


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


'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


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.


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.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.