Oil spill exercise staged on Norfolk Broads

Emergency teams worked together to clear hundreds of gallons of oil flowing into the Broads in a staged practice exercise yesterday.

The Broads Authority staged the drill at Postwick to test procedures for coping with large-scale oil spills which could damage delicate wildlife and nature sites on the Broads.

In the scenario, Broads Authority staff worked with oil-spill specialists to minimise the damage caused by oil pouring from a tanker stricken on the A47 overhead.

Workers deployed inflatable booms across the Broad, containing the oil and directing toward strategically-placed 'skimmers' which removed the oil and pumped it to shore. Pop-up tanks stored the oil, ready for tankers to remove it and dispose of it.

Adrian Vernon, head of rangers services with the Broads Authority, said the day had been an important learning exercise for the teams, and partner agencies including the Environment Agency, the fire service, district councils and nature and wildlife bodies.

'Everything worked perfectly, so we are really pleased. We've proven we can get here quickly and act efficiently if there is an incident, and we've learned how we might have to handle the situation in different weather.'

The chance to brief multiple agencies on emergency procedures could save vital minutes in a real-life situation, he added.

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