EMERGENCY services will be put to the test next week when a nuclear-powered submarine emergency exercise takes place on Portland.

The planning exercise will take place at Portland Port on Wednesday, March 9.

The Ministry of Defence, Portland Port, local councils, emergency and health services will be involved.

Portland is one of a number of UK ports allowed to accommodate nuclear-powered vessels for the Royal Navy.

Nearby residents and those working close to Portland Port have been sent a letter about the exercise, plus an information booklet explaining what to do in the unlikely event of a real radiation emergency in the port.

Cllr Francis Drake, briefholder for community safety at Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, said: “This exercise is carried out every three years to check that all authorities are prepared for the extremely unlikely event of an incident involving a nuclear submarine visiting Portland Port.

“We have written to all residents within two kilometres of the port to let them know that it will be taking place on 9 March.

"The impact of the exercise will be minimal as most activity will take place within Portland Port.

"On 9 March people may see some emergency vehicles plus Ministry of Defence and Maritime & Coastguard Agency staff walking around the area. There is no need to be alarmed as this will just be part of the exercise.”

The booklet, ‘Information in the event of a Radiation Emergency in Portland Port’ is available online or by calling 01305 224659.