Press release: Major flood defence exercise in Stratford

The Environment Agency’s field team will deploy a temporary flood barrier along the street. The exercise, starting at 0700, will provide an opportunity to test barrier deployment plan and procedures, train staff and test working arrangements with partners, so the barriers can be quickly and safely erected when needed during a flood with minimum disruption.

Waterside will be closed to traffic for most of the day. Pedestrians will be unable to walk along the areas immediately in front of and behind the barrier, between the Encore Pub and the junction of Waterside and Chapel Lane, for health and safety reasons. Businesses on Waterside will be accessible.

The Environment Agency is supporting communities across England that remain at risk of flooding with 40km of temporary barriers which can be deployed at suitable sites during a flood. Stratford has been identified as one of those suitable locations.

Environment Agency Operations Manager Emma Smailes said:

This is a major test of our operational equipment. Although we have carried out numerous barrier deployment exercises at our training depots, doing it on location will give our field team invaluable experience.

Cllr Daren Pemberton, Planning and Administrative Services Portfolio at Stratford-on-Avon District Council, said:

This exercise will allow Environment Agency staff and partners, including the district council, to work together and test this new barrier deployment in Stratford-upon-Avon, thereby gaining valuable training experience.

In the past Stratford-upon-Avon, and Waterside in particular, has flooded and remains at risk of flooding, so the temporary barrier will now help to protect vulnerable properties in this location during future flooding events.

Testing the assembly of the barrier is important to ensure that it all works smoothly in a live emergency situation.

Cllr Howard Roberts, portfolio holder for Community Safety with Warwickshire County Council, said:

Flooding is one of the major hazards potentially affecting Warwickshire residents and it is vital that we are prepared to respond.

Exercises like this are key to making sure that partners are well practised at working together in response to a flood emergency.

Emma added:

It’s important to remember that we can never protect 100% against flooding, and we can’t guarantee that specific communities will always have access to temporary barriers.

Local residents and businesses should be prepared by checking their flood risk, signing up to flood warnings and finding out what they can do to protect themselves and their property by visiting the Prepare for Flooding page on GOV.UK or calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

Environment Agency staff will be available during the exercise to provide members of the public with information about access restrictions, alternative routes and general flood advice. The exercise is likely to conclude around 1300.

Link: Press release: Major flood defence exercise in Stratford
Source: Environment Agency

Press release: Environment Agency warns of flood risk in Devon and Cornwall

The Environment Agency is urging people to remain vigilant to potential flooding as a low pressure coastal storm is forecast to hit the south coasts of Cornwall and Devon on Saturday.

Current forecasts show a low pressure storm on Saturday 21 October which, combined with close-to-spring tides, means flood warnings are likely to be issued along the south coasts of Cornwall and Devon and will require the routine closure of flood gates.

On Thursday 19 October the Environment Agency will be deploying temporary flood barriers in Fowey. The temporary barriers are designed to give Fowey better protection from potential coastal flooding. This type of flood defence has been used to prevent flooding from rivers for a number of years but this is the first time they have been used on the Cornish coast.

Environment Agency teams have been mobilised across the area to check on flood defences, clear any river blockages and closely monitor river levels. These teams have been working around the clock to reduce the risk of flooding, and will be out in force over the weekend.

Kevin Ward of the Environment Agency said:

We urge residents to take care on the coast this weekend. Strong winds pose a risk of waves overtopping defences and we advise not to stop and admire the waves or take ‘storm selfies’.

Also, avoid exposed coastal areas and do not walk or drive through flood water, which can dirty and contain hidden debris. Just 30cm of flowing water can move a car and driving through water can also create waves.

The Environment Agency continue to monitor the situation across Devon and Cornwall and will review their plans as the forecasts are updated.

Residents and businesses are encouraged to sign up to flood warnings on the Environment Agency website. People can also call Floodline on 0345 988 1188. Once registered, if a flood warning is issued, they will receive an automatic message by telephone, SMS text message, email and/or fax.

Find out how to prepare for flooding and if your home is at risk.

Link: Press release: Environment Agency warns of flood risk in Devon and Cornwall
Source: Environment Agency

Press release: UK &Taiwan Share Experience on Renewable Energy and Green Finance

A UK trade and technology mission visits Taiwan on 18-20 October to share the UK’s experience in the renewable energy sector, focussing particularly on offshore wind. With the largest ever number of the UK renewable energy delegates to Taiwan, this mission is part of the British Office’s “Innovation is GREAT” campaign, which will introduce innovative British technologies and services to Taiwan.

Made up of 50 representatives from 30 UK companies, the mission comprises two separate delegations:
* an offshore wind mission led by Mr Huub den Rooijen, Director of Energy, Minerals & Infrastructure of The Crown Estate, in Taiwan to share the UK’s experiences of developing and managing the world’s largest offshore wind market; and
* a Green Finance Mission, including representatives from the City of London Corporation, the London Stock Exchange, the Green Investment Group and other leading UK green finance institutions, here to share UK experiences of promoting investment in clean energy technology and discuss regulatory and policy tools that can help the development of Taiwan’s green finance sector.

Both groups participated in the 12th “UK-Taiwan Renewable Energy Conference” today (19 October), sharing their extensive expertise on the renewable energy sector. The Conference was held in collaboration with the Bureau of Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs and covered a wide range of topics, including cross government working, marine engineering, training, green financing and operation & maintenance.

Catherine Nettleton, Representative of the British Office, said in her opening remarks: “Renewable energy is a remarkable economic driver for the UK. Our experience tells us that it can be very challenging to start a new industry, but it will be exciting to see Taiwan starting its first offshore wind farm in the foreseeable future. This mission from the UK is our largest ever, including a range of experts in the field. I’m pleased that Britain is a strong partner for Taiwan in its efforts to develop offshore wind.”

A memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ChangHua County and UK Aon Taiwan Ltd was signed at the Conference today, representing the strong collaboration between the UK and Taiwan to successfully develop offshore wind in Taiwan. During its 2-day visit, the delegation will visit ChangHua County to learn more about the region’s commitment to green energy development and the environment.

British firm ODE Ltd also officially launched its Taiwan Office at today’s event, and has already begun recruiting skilled Taiwanese engineers.

The Green Finance delegation took part in a UK Taiwan Green Finance Roundtable with the Financial Supervisory Commission on Wednesday 18 October where policy makers and representatives of the financial services industry discussed how to accelerate investment into renewable energy. Sherry Madera, Asia Adviser, City Of London Corporation also delivered a presentation entitled “UK Green Finance Initiative: Turning Ambition into Action” in an event co-organised by the European Chamber of Commerce, the British Chamber of Commerce and the British Office Taipei.

On Thursday 12 October, the UK launched its Clean Growth Strategy to build on the success to date in delivering emissions reductions while growing the economy; UK emissions have fallen by 42% since 1990 while the economy has grown by 67%. The Clean Growth strategy announced by UK’s Department for Business, Energy, Industrial strategy provides NTD23.5 billion of fund for less established technologies, such as offshore wind, with the next one planned for spring 2019.

The UK was the first country in the world to adopt statutory emission reduction targets, which require the Government to reduce emissions by 80% of the 1990 level by 2050 (Climate Change Act 2008). As part of the green industry, the UK has taken a 3.7% share of the global market for green goods and services. This puts the UK in sixth place globally.

The UK is already the world leader in offshore wind, with 6.5GW of capacity operating today, the largest in the world with continuous emphasis on technological innovation. The UK is expecting a total of 10GW to be installed by 2020, by which point offshore wind will supply between 8 and 10 percent of the UK’s electricity annually. Renewable energy is a remarkable economic driver in the UK, more than 1 million jobs have so far been created in renewable energy and the total industry is worth £117 billion. The UK is also one of the world’s most attractive countries to invest in renewable energy projects.

More information:

UK supply – the UK has developed the largest offshore wind market in the world and has strengths that complement the Taiwan market. Where there is a need for products and services that are unique to this industry the UK has solutions. There are three key areas where UK support can work:

  • Expertise: Taiwan is in a similar position as the was UK 15 years ago, and we have experts that can support this new market and deliver projects on time and efficiently. The key areas for cooperation are early stage development, design, engineering, installation support and O&M. When London Array started installing wind turbines in 2011 it was taking some 60 days to install and commission each turbine. Last month, it took 14hrs to install and commission a wind turbine on Dudgeon.

  • Specialist equipment: the industry has evolved now to a mature state and prices are driving down, a key influencer has been the development of dedicated equipment, and the UK has some of the best manufacturers in the world. These include manufacturing cables, cable protection, specialist vessel equipment, turbines blades, substation electrical equipment and substations.

  • Marine operations: to build and maintain these huge offshore wind farms, the UK has developed a world leading fleet of installation vessels and operations and maintenance vessels. Along with this we have world leading companies to support in coordinating vessel operations and monitor the efficiency and safety of everyone working offshore.

Complementing Taiwan: there is a need for local content in the Taiwanese market; and an appetite to develop a home supply chain. The UK’s approach is to encourage partnership with local companies who have the potential to deliver in the market. The key areas for local content can be in major or secondary fabrication for foundations and towers, vessels for installation support, technicians (having learned from UK counterparts), installation port services and operations and maintenance.

Link: Press release: UK &Taiwan Share Experience on Renewable Energy and Green Finance
Source: Gov Press Releases

Press release: Flood warning service improvements go live for winter

People who live near the River Foss in York will now be able to benefit from an improved flood warning service from Wednesday, October 18.

After the Boxing Day 2015 floods, one of the recommendations of the York Flood Inquiry report was for the Environment Agency to conduct a review of the flood warnings on the River Ouse and Foss.

The Environment Agency commissioned consultants to review all flood warnings in the city.

Along the River Ouse catchment, the review found the existing service meets the needs of the community.

However, the River Foss flood warnings underwent a thorough review and changes have been made.

A new rain monitoring station is being installed upstream on the Foss in the village of Yearsley, 20 miles north of York, as well as a river level monitoring station near Strensall.

These two monitoring stations will automatically feed information into the Environment Agency’s systems and forecasts for the River Foss, supporting a better understanding of the amount of water flowing down the river towards York.

This will help the Environment Agency’s flood duty officers to issue flood warnings with more confidence and more accurate information included within the warning messages.

The River Foss catchment area within the City of York boundary previously had six flood warnings, covering the Foss, Tang Hall Beck and Osbaldwick Beck.

As part of the improvements this will increase to ten and include warnings for South Beck and Westfield Beck.

Zoë Pattinson, Environment Agency flood risk officer, said:

Along the River Foss corridor, there is one long warning that is for the properties most at risk from river flooding, and a wider warning that covers the properties at lower risk of flooding.

The Environment Agency also worked with members the River Foss Society in redesigning the flood warning boundaries and trigger levels.

The Foss Society and local residents have provided valuable input into the review of the flood warning service for the River Foss community.

She continued:

Local community input is important because it gives us an insight from those who have seen how the river and catchment behaves in heavy rainfall. It also helps raise awareness of our flood warning service.

John Millett, chairman of the River Foss Society, said:

The River Foss Society supports and fully endorses the work the Environment Agency is doing to improve the flood warnings that are being introduced to protect the City of York and neighbouring areas and their residents and businesses along both the River Ouse and the River Foss corridors.

People who are already signed up the flood warning service will automatically be transferred to the new relevant flood warning area that covers their property. If you want to register to receive free Environment Agency flood warnings then you can either at flood warnings or call on Floodline 0345 988 1188.

Link: Press release: Flood warning service improvements go live for winter
Source: Environment Agency