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Emergency Planning

Volume 403: debated on Monday 10 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent guidance on emergency planning has been issued to local authorities. [102134]

I have been asked to reply.The most recent guidance issued to local authorities, emergency services and other responding agencies on emergency planning was 'The Decontamination of people exposed to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) substances or material: Strategic National Guidance'. Its publication was announced in a Written Ministerial Statement by the Minister of State for the Home Department, on 3 February 2003,

Official Report, column 3WS.

'Dealing with Disaster' (3rd Edition) is currently being revised and will be published by the middle of this year. This forms the core guidance to local authorities and other responders for emergency planning and response to all types of emergencies.

Guidance on the 'Response to the deliberate release of chemicals and biological agents: guidance to local authorities' was issued in October 2001 by the Cabinet Office. This is currently being updated by the Home Office and will be re-issued in the next two months.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans his Department has to make available to the public an information booklet for emergency planning in the event of a terrorist attack; and if he will make a statement. [99112]

[holding answer 25 February 2003]: The Government keeps under constant review its arrangements to ensure that the public has the best possible advice about the threat in the United Kingdom. Any general advice has to be carefully considered, to ensure that it is neither too vague nor too comprehensive to be useful, given the many different forms that threat may conceivably take. We already publish information on the current security position on the Government's emergency planning website,, together with practical advice as and when necessary in connection with specific alerts, for example handling suspect packages. That site contains a wide range of emergency planning information and links to other United Kingdom government department sites and related sites around the world, which interested members of the public can explore in depth. The Government will ensure that the advice which it provides strikes the right balance between keeping the public informed and not provoking unnecessary anxiety.I also announced to the House on 3 March, a new website: to ensure the public has more access to information about terrorism and how best to protect themselves.