RAF man flies in to help ensure flood defences in Ely and the fens are up to standard

Corporal Paul 'Barney' Barnard from RAF Marham conducts flood defence surveys around the town of Ear

Corporal Paul 'Barney' Barnard from RAF Marham conducts flood defence surveys around the town of Earith on behalf of the Environment Agency.He said "It's nice to do something for the local community... The flood defences are so important to those who live here." - Credit: Cpl Jimmy Wise [RAF]

A Royal Air Force corporal has helped reduce the flood risk to homes and businesses in Ely by assisting the Environment Agency in their flood defence inspections in Cambridgeshire.

Corp Paul Barnard, of RAF Marham in Norfolk, was among 30 military personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and RAF trained by the Environment Agency last month to act as flood defence assessors.

Armed Forces assessors helped to inspect more than 10,000 flood defences across England, with RAF personnel deployed to inspect defences in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and North London.

Corp Barnard was deployed to coastlines, rivers, culverts and reservoirs to inspect weirs, river banks outflows and debris screens, recording any defects and reporting them to the Environment Agency.

He said: “Although the weather wasn’t great and I was outside covering between 10 and 15 miles of river banks a day, it’s one of the best things I’ve done in the RAF. I’m proud to be helping the local communities, especially those around Cambridgeshire like Ely and Chatteris which are quite close to RAF Marham. The flood defences are so important to those who live here.”

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When Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank hit England earlier this year, flood defences across the country were put under significant pressure.

The Environment Agency requested support from the MOD as part of the Military Aid to other Government Departments programme in order to speed up completion of their inspection programme by building capacity in their response.

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The Environment Agency deployed their own flood defence inspectors throughout England to the areas affected by flooding to carry out urgent inspections.

The MOD’s help meant these inspections could be completed as quickly as possible.

Armed Forces Minister Penny Mordaunt said: “Following an exceptionally wet winter our skilled men and women from the Armed Forces have been making a real difference, helping the Environment Agency to protect the public from future flooding. This continued assistance demonstrates the value of our military services not only in war fighting but in contingency operations as well.”

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