Hampshire fire crews will join the Environment Agency in a major flood exercise to the north of Romsey on 27 September.
Field teams will be building 400 metres of temporary barrier close to Greatbridge Road, to train new and existing members of staff on its construction.
For a short period of time the road itself will be closed, to allow the barrier to be built across the carriageway and to ensure that the exercise mimics as closely as possible what would happen in a real flood event.
The exercise will be run in conjunction with other partners including Hampshire County Council, Test Valley Borough Council, Romsey Town Council and local businesses.
The barrier is one of the temporary options to help reduce the risk of flooding to residents and businesses in Romsey, specifically around the Budds Lane and Greatbridge Road area which was flooded in 2014.
Environment Agency Flood and Coastal Risk Manager Gordon Wilson said: “It’s unlikely that we’ll see a repeat of the extreme weather conditions that caused the 2014 flooding in Hampshire, but the exercise will make sure that we’re ready, should the worst happen this winter. In partnership with Hampshire County Council and Test Valley Borough Council, we are developing a flood alleviation scheme which will help protect more than 100 homes against flooding. We are looking to start construction works in early summer next year (2018), although this is dependent upon us securing sufficient local financial contributions, to top up the funding allocated by the Government”.
Tom Simms, Head of Resilience for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We work extremely hard with our partners all year round to ensure our communities are well prepared to deal with emergencies such as the floods experienced in Romsey and other parts of the county in 2014. This work ranges from producing localised actions plans for communities to exercises like this, which all helps to provide the necessary resilience for any unexpected or sudden events.”
Deputy Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Nick Adams-King said: “We have built strong relationships with our partners through the Test Valley Flood Resilience Forum which helps all of the agencies to work together for the benefit of our residents, and this exercise will put this into practice. One of our ambitions in the Romsey Future Document is to develop the town’s resilience to managing the extremes of weather and this includes addressing potential environmental risks such as flooding.”
Councillor Rob Humby, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council, said: “We are committed to helping reduce the risk of flooding across Hampshire and I’m pleased to be working collaboratively with our partners to help the residents and businesses of Romsey. We are making good progress with plans for a package of measures to mitigate the impact of flooding in Romsey and I hope local people will be able to come along to our public exhibition in Crosfield Hall between 11 and 14 October to find out more.”
The barrier construction is part of a three-day exercise that will fully test all physical aspects of a localised flood event.
The build will begin at 9am and continue until midnight. Greatbridge Road will be closed from around 7pm until midnight.