Action cameras help teams to inspect hard-to-reach structures

4 Nov 2019 10:20 AM

Environment Agency staff have been making good use of waterproof action cameras as they inspect hard-to-reach culverts and flood gates across East Anglia.

When carrying out site visits and assessments of structures across the river network and flood defences, teams sometimes have to hire specialist dive crews and CCTV experts - but by investing in the hi-tech gadgets they have been able to make significant savings.

Through viewing the footage captured by the miniature HD cameras – filmed either when attached to an extendable carbon fibre pole or an improvised floating device - the inspection teams can ascertain whether further work is needed.

Flood risk advisor Chris Finbow said the durable cameras had already saved the Environment Agency tens of thousands of pounds - and many officer hours.

He yesterday said:

Investing in this kit has delivered a huge cost saving for us and helped us carry out our inspections much more quickly and easily.

We are finding new uses for this setup all the time, further confirming it as an essential piece of our kit.

The Environment Agency owns and maintains hundreds of culverts, flood gates, sluices and weirs, which need inspecting on an annual basis to ensure they’re in perfect working order.

Officers may be looking for signs that fixed or moving parts have deteriorated over time or damaged by floating objects in the water.

While many assets are more recent constructions, some are decades old and were inherited by the EA when it was established in 1995.

Often the older structures – which in some cases date back more than a century – incorporate narrow access points or have been adapted over time with more modern weed screens that are difficult to remove in order for a full inspection.

By using cameras to get a close-up view of these assets, senior advisors in the teams can be satisfied by the footage that the structures are intact, in good health, and can be signed off until their next scheduled inspection.