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Pollution prevention boom to be tested on Thames

A large boom, which stops the spread of pollution, will be used on the River Thames on Thursday 18 September 2008 as part of an Environment Agency training exercise.

The Environment Agency regularly practices its response to incidents and this exercise will be testing its staff and equipment in responding to a major pollution incident.

The Thames Boom will be deployed between 10am-12pm near Sunbury Lock on the River Thames.

Environment Agency training coordinator Guy Elliot said: “This type of training is vital for environment officers so that they are familiar with the equipment and are able to deploy it should a major pollution spill hit the Thames. It could make the difference between a clear up operation or an environmental disaster.

Officers are used to dealing with small scale booms on smaller watercourses, but putting a large boom such as this across the Thames is a major undertaking. Therefore, while we appreciate that this may inconvenience boaters, I hope they understand just how important it is for us to carry out such training to prepare for major incidents.”

No boats will be allowed to navigate between the head of Platt's Eyot (also known as Thornycroft Island) and Sunbury Lock for the duration of the training exercise. Boaters will be advised of the temporary closure by both Molesey and Sunbury Locks as they approach the location. The Environment Agency will also have patrol boats on the river ensuring the safety of river users throughout the exercise.

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