Nick Herbert joins Arundel flood exercise

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert joined emergency responders in Arundel on Friday (29 January) to see how they would work to save the town from flooding if the River Arun’s defences were damaged by severe weather.

Mr Herbert was met by officials from the Environment Agency who were staging a major training exercise with the West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, Arun District Council and Arundel Town Council.

Exercise Overflow was designed to test specialist teams faced with the scenario of water breaching the defences as a result of exceptionally high tides and tidal surges along the Sussex coast.

Mr Herbert observed as staff deployed flood defence barriers and pollution control equipment along the River Arun to prevent significant flooding and contamination to the area.

Environment Agency Regional Director Toby Willison said: "Climate change will increase the likelihood of flooding in the future, but we can prepare for it.  Training exercises are vital to ensure we can appropriately deal with an emergency situation should it occur.

"This essential training provides our officers with the opportunity to exercise and test the equipment needed in a major flooding incident to limit its devastating impact.  By working in close partnership with West Sussex Fire Service we will be in an even better position to protect our local communities."

Nick Herbert commented: "It was very interesting to see how the emergency services and the Environment Agency would cope with flooding or a pollution incident.  As we start to see more unusual weather events in future we will face a greater risk of flooding, so it's important that we are able to respond effectively.

"I visited Cumbria twice at the end of last year and saw at first hand how devastating flood damage can be.  It underlined to me the importance of an effective and co-ordinated response by all the agencies and the fact that they often need to act very quickly."

Nick Herbert will speak in the Commons about flooding when the Flood and Water Management Bill receives its third reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday (2 February).



Notes for Editors

1. For more information on flooding, visit

Christopher N Howarth