On Thursday, 14th July 2016 some residents and visitors to Dovestone could be forgiven that a major problem, perhaps even terrorism, had occurred as military helicopters, police, fire and many other emergency services descended en-masse in the area.
Roads were closed or managed by guards. Around the reservoirs, fields and woodlands hundreds of personnel were busily engaged in setting up various checkpoints and specialised equipment. But not to worry, there was no emergency or crucial civil problem. This was an important multi-agency exercise which had been previously advertised in the media so that many residents were already aware.
Under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, it is a requirement for councils and emergency services to plan for major incidents.
The exercise was to test the capabilities of the services to work together in case a massive flood were to happen caused by a breach to the reservoir dam walls. It was also linked to another reservoir at Hollingworth Lake. The scenario was to empty Dove Stone reservoir as quickly as possible after cracks were found in the dam.
There’s an excellent procedural site from the Manchester Evening News if you are interested in learning more about the exercise with scores of excellent photos and a video.