Thousands to take part in Britain's biggest ever civil emergency exercise
Around 10,000 people will take part in Britain's biggest ever civil emergency exercise to test the country's response to catastrophic floods, according to Defra.
The test, called Exercise Watermark, will this week bring together ten government departments, 34 local resilience forums, emergency responders, water and energy companies, hospitals and schools.
Some of the planned local exercises include the evacuation of coastal communities in Lincolnshire, live floodwater rescues by the RAF from rooftops and submerged vehicles and a variety of flood awareness raising activities.
Defra has also announced grants worth £820,000 to emergency services, charities and other groups to pay for flood rescue equipment and training.
The grants are part of a £2million fund to improve flood response in England and Wales. All the equipment bought with the funding will be added to the National Asset Register of flood rescue resources that can be called upon in the event of a major flood.
Environment Agency chairman, Lord Chris Smith, said: "Exercise Watermark will test the plans that Government, the Environment Agency, local authorities and communities have put in place since the devastating floods of 2007. It will help protect lives and homes against future floods.
"One in six properties in England and Wales is at risk from flooding. I urge everyone in that position to sign up to receive free Environment Agency flood warnings."