Wells' flood wardens call for more support as flood gate tested

Marie and Mike Strong, the joint coordinator of the Wells flood action plan and flood warden

Marie and Mike Strong, the joint coordinator of the Wells flood action plan and flood warden. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

Two Norfolk flood wardens were up in the early hours of the morning as they oversaw a test of their town's flood gate.

Marie and Mike Strong, the joint coordinators of the Wells flood action plan and flood wardens, were watching the Environment Agency test Wells' flood gate down by The Quay on Thursday, October 7.

The pair were working closely with the Environment Agency as they undertook one of their three-test events to make sure the flood defences were in working conditions ahead of the winter.

Gavin Chillingworth, a member of the Environment Agency. 

Gavin Chillingworth, a member of the Environment Agency. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

The drill saw the Environment Agency use three contingency methods in order to get the gate across in around thirty minutes. These include using the electrics that power the gate, a generator brought along with them, or a winch and rope which they use to pull the gate into position.

The importance of the gate was highlighted after the horrendous weather that battered the region back in 2013.


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An Environment Agency spokesman said: "Our flood wall and gate, tested today, protect almost 600 properties in Wells from the sea.

The Environment Agency came and tested the Wells flood gate down by The Quay.

The Environment Agency came and tested the Wells flood gate down by The Quay. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

“By consulting the annual tide tables, our specialist officers know when the flood risk in increasing, and close the flood gate in Freeman Street as appropriate.”

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They also check the seals to make sure it is watertight.

They were there to help train up a further two teams of workers on how to get the flood gate into position.

Mike Strong, the joint coordinator of the Wells flood action plan and flood warden.

Mike Strong, the joint coordinator of the Wells flood action plan and flood warden. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

The pair, who have been involved with the flood action group since 2000, were up at 4am to get down to watch the drill take place.

“We live in a flood risk area, on the East Quay, so it inspired us to get involved,” Mr Strong said.

“We were inspired to wake up so early because we are just making sure that it works. It really is a case of crossing the T's and dotting the I's.”

Marie Strong, the joint coordinator of the Wells flood action plan and flood warden. 

Marie Strong, the joint coordinator of the Wells flood action plan and flood warden. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

The pair are now calling on residents to help double their numbers of volunteers, with local people from Wells who can help them warn residents if floods were on the way.

“It is an invaluable service to the town,” Mrs Strong said.

“There is no payment, and we ask them to turn out in the most inclement weather and to perform this vital task throughout the year.”

If you are able to help, email the team at strongeastquay@gmail.com

The Environment Agency undertook one of their three-test events to make sure the flood defences

The Environment Agency undertook one of their three-test events to make sure the flood defences were in working conditions ahead of the winter. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

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