Second year Geography & Natural Disasters’ student Katie Winzer discusses her trip to Stratford-upon-Avon to check out the environment agency’s flood protection test.
Last week, a group of Geography and Disaster Management students were lucky enough to visit drizzly Stratford-upon-Avon to take a look at the Environment Agency’s flood protection test called Exercise Tempest. The purpose of the test was to provide the EA with an opportunity to test barrier deployment procedures, train staff in the deployment and to test working arrangements for the area without actually having the water lapping around their ankles!
When we arrived, the process was well underway with crew members constructing the flood barrier along the waterside in front on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. It was really great to see first-hand, how quickly the barrier could be put together to protect the 20 restaurants, businesses and properties along the stretch of river. We took a look at the historical flood levels marked on the buildings along the waterfront, this really put into perspective how at risk this area is to flooding.
We were able took a look at the Incident Command Unit which acts as a mobile office, allowing the EA to visit sites of flooding and analyse the risk on a first-hand basis. The unit is able to relay data via satellite to Incident Rooms that can then analyse the data and make plans accordingly. We saw how Team UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) use GIS and drone technology to remotely map and analyse the extent of flooding allowing for better planning procedures.
The trip was a really valuable networking opportunity, we met lots of important people from the Environmental Agency and Flood and Coastal Committee including John Curtin who is the Executive Director of Flood and Coastal Risk Management for the Environment agency, who gave a really great insight into the work the Environment Agency does to mitigate the hazards posed by flooding.
Overall the trip was really beneficial to both the Geographers and Disaster Management students as it allowed us to connect with companies that many of us will be interested in joining when we graduate, and it was great to see what can be done to prevent the damage caused by flooding in person.