NFCC Chair thanks all for 'tireless response' in Derbyshire as operation winds down

Firefighters and fire service staff from across the country have been thanked by the Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and Derbyshire’s Chief Fire Officer for the dedicated and professional response to the major incident at the Toddbrook reservoir.

High Volume Pumps (HVPs), flood rescue boats, tactical advisors and appliances from more than 20 fire services were mobilised to the major incident in Derbyshire. They worked tirelessly alongside other organisations to assist in reducing water levels at the reservoir. This involved working around the clock since last Thursday when the first assets were deployed. This was part of NFCC’s National Resilience (NR) response and mutual aid arrangements.

The target for reducing water levels in the reservoir have now been reached and firefighters and other assets will now start to leave the site, although work will continue in the area as the operation enters recovery and repatriation phase.  

The reservoir and dam were showing signs extensive damage, which could have led to flooding of nearby homes, which were subsequently evacuated. People are now being allowed to return home.

The reservoir contained approximately 1.3 million tonnes of water and the dam holding it contained 300 million gallons. The High Volume Pumps were moving approximately 1.7 cubic metres of water every second, which led to water levels dropping by eight metres; in conjunction with other higher capacity electric pumps, brought in to assist with lowering the water level further.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued a statement about the operation.

NFCC Chair Roy Wilsher passed on his gratitude to all who worked at the incident: “I would like to thank everyone who attended and assisted at the major incident in Derbyshire. Once again, the UK Fire and Rescue Service has shown how it delivers a coordinated and joined-up approach as part of our national resilience capability. This was a huge operation which was handled with the professionalism you would expect and I would like to express my thanks to everyone who assisted.”

Chief Fire Officer Terry McDermott said “First of all can I thank the residents of Whaley Bridge and surrounding areas for their patience and support whilst we have been dealing with the critical stage of the incident and been working to reduce the water levels as safely and efficiently as possible. The work carried out by all emergency responders has been phenomenal and the effort by all to reduce the water level in the dam cannot be underestimated. We’ve had support from across the UK fire and rescue service, supporting our own Derbyshire crews who have worked tirelessly. to bring the incident to a swift and safe conclusion.

 “There is still work to be done as the recovery phase of the incident commences and we start to withdraw the huge number of fire service assets from the site. Once again my sincere thanks and thoughts remain with the residents and community of Whaley Bridge and hope they understand the efforts we have all undertaken to keep their homes, businesses and their community safe. On behalf of myself and the fire and rescue service we hope Whaley Bridge can soon put this incident, which will live in their memories forever, behind them and life can quickly return to normal.” 

  • The National Resilience Assurance Team (NRAT), supported by lead NFCC officers, coordinates the national response, provides vital support to government and supports fire and rescue services with additional assets.
  • NR also provides invaluable support in response to these nationally significant incidents, working to the National Coordination and Advisory Framework (NCAF), to ensure a flexible response is put in place.
  • Highly experienced fire and rescue service strategic and tactical advisers support affected areas, which has been consistently demonstrated since the Cumbria floods in 2005.
  • Fire and Rescue Services also coordinate a national response to wide area flooding on behalf of DEFRA through a well-established and highly effective National Coordination and Advisory Framework (NCAF).


Back to news