Spotlight on the Environment Agency's Incident Response
What we do?
The work of the Environment Agency covers lots of different areas, from fisheries management to flooding. We also have a big role during incidents too, as a Category One responder.
Before an incident occurs, our staff will be checking and maintaining equipment – this includes personal equipment and large-scale engineering equipment such as pumps and machinery that could be deployed. We’ll also be carrying out routine monitoring and enforcement, to help prevent incidents occurring in the first place. We also do lots of work with our local communities to engage and advise on the risks that they face. We are always working with our partner agencies, building relationships and participating in training and exercising to ensure that everyone involved in incident management activities is as prepared as possible.
During a live incident, our team will be carrying out Warning and Informing duties with our local communities, to ensure that residents are aware of current situations and the potential impacts of this. We’ll be engaging with the LRF partners to ensure that our approach is joined up and effective, and everyone involved is working to the most current and up-to-date information. We could also be carrying out work on the ground; including engineering works, such as deploying pumps, barriers and other equipment during flooding to help minimise any impacts as much as we can. This could also be carrying out sampling and other monitoring activities during a pollution incident. We might also deploy specialist equipment during these incidents too, such as booms to help prevent the spread of oil or other pollutants through a watercourse. We’ll continue to deploy staff on-the-ground to help advise, support and reassure local communities, and to help us understand the scale and scope of any incidents we may be managing.
After we have finished responding to an incident, there is still lots of work to do. Our staff will continue to support the ongoing work of partners to help our communities return to the new normal post-incident. This might involve continuing or commissioning engineering works, ongoing efforts to help return the environment to its original state, or supporting enforcement or prosecution where this is relevant. Like all partners, we’ll also look at what worked well and what didn’t work so well with our response, and we’ll do lots of work to ensure that future responses are as good as they can be.
Sandbags have been delivered to households at risk of flooding as Swindon prepares for the latest storm to hit the UK.
Storm advice and information as Storm Ciarán expected to bring strong winds and heavy rain this week (1st November 2023)
We are advising you to be prepared for high winds, heavy rain and potential flooding as Storm Ciarán approaches the county this week.
A Recent Incident
We deal with lots of incidents all the time. In January 2023, we dealt with a big flooding incident that impacted areas across the South West, including Wiltshire and Swindon. We worked hard to ensure that impacted communities were warned of potential or actual flooding as soon as possible. We deployed staff and equipment such as pumps across the region to provide additional time to impacted communities to carry out protective works on their properties. We also deployed staff to help understand what we were dealing with. In addition to this, our experts were working internally and with our partners to help everyone understand where and what the likely impacts would be, in order to ensure our combined response could be as effective as possible. We are now undertaking extensive recovery efforts to ensure that our communities remain as protected as possible from future impacts.
We are focusing on our preparation for coastal flooding incidents (which hopefully will not affect Wiltshire and Swindon any time soon), and undertaking internal and external workshops with partners to test our incident response procedures and put in place improvements to our preparedness ahead of future coastal flood events.
We deliver training internally all-year round across all incident roles, in a variety of subjects, to again ensure our staff and prepared and confident to carry out their incident role.