Suffolk soldiers prepare to support flood barrier deployment ahead of winter

Suffolk soldiers have taken part in a joint training exercise to learn how to assemble temporary flood barrier defences should they be called on to help reduce the risk of flooding in Lowestoft.

The flood barriers and those operating the barriers are put through their paces every year to ensure that East Suffolk Council can provide the best possible response to the threat of a North Sea tidal surge. 

The training was delivered by the Water Management Alliance on behalf of the Council and saw the soldiers from the 3rd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment erect, disassemble and re-stow the barriers. 

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 3rd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Adam Wolfe 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 addition to erecting flood barriers, the military contribution to flood relief can include a variety of duties from filling and distributing sandbags and assisting evacuations, to repairing flood defences and general tasks in support of the local authorities and emergency services.