18 Feb 2014

More assistance for Undercliff residents

As conditions continue to deteriorate at Undercliff Drive, St Lawrence, efforts have been stepped up to help affected residents remove belongings from their homes.

In an operation being co-ordinated by the Isle of Wight Council, further military support has been requested to work with partner agencies in the ongoing situation.

More troops arrived on the Island last night (Monday) to provide assistance with site security and to help residents remove belongings from their homes.

Today the Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, Island Roads and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, with support from the army, will be working with residents to remove possessions while access remains.

Brigadier Andrew Hughes, Commander 145 (South) Brigade, who holds responsibility as the Joint Military Commander (South) for military response and assistance in support of civil authorities and agencies in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight highlighted the importance of being able to react quickly in order to support the Isle of Wight.

'Support to the Isle of Wight'

"We have been able to call on military helicopters for some short notice tasks but also have moved manpower, equipment and transport lift by road and ferry to support ongoing tasks and demonstrate our support to the Isle of Wight authorities and emergency services. This has been a real success in operating together in cooperation over the past few days.

"Military personnel have been providing assistance where required, reassurance and help with manpower intensive tasks. Twenty five soldiers, including Royal Engineer specialists, are currently deployed on the Island and we are planning on drawing on the local knowledge and experience of Isle of Wight reservist soldiers from 266 Port Sqn RLC based at Drill Hall Road in Newport to provide this assistance over the weekend. We will continue to monitor the requirement for military support during the expected clear up following this unprecedented period of weather."

The road has deteriorated significantly over the past few days, with access for residents and those helping with the operation limited to narrow sections of road (approximately one metre wide) either side of the affected area.

'Distressing time'

Councillor Steve Stubbings, council deputy leader and local member for Ventnor West, said: "The council’s priority remains the safety of residents in the area and helping them to remove possessions from their homes while access remains. This is a distressing time for the residents and the council has been providing, and will continue to provide, whatever support it can.

"With the ground still moving, it is too soon for us to make an assessment on the future of the road at this stage, this will be considered by technical experts when the ground has stabilises in the future."

The site remains extremely dangerous and members of the public are reminded to stay away from the area for their own safety.

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The deteriorating situation at Undercliff Drive
The deteriorating situation at Undercliff Drive
  • Undercliff Drive is a road connecting Niton and St Lawrence, near Ventnor.
Isle of Wight, UK