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Emergencies: Facilities

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many (a) bowsers and (b) portaloos the public sector has access to for utilising in a national emergency situation; whether there are plans to increase those numbers; and if he will make a statement. (154345)

The Public sector does not have access to a specific number of bowsers and portaloos but each water company holds a stock of emergency equipment. Mutual aid arrangements exist between water companies to provide bowsers and other equipment to a water company that is dealing with an emergency. These arrangements can be further augmented, if necessary, with equipment from the public and private sectors. Portaloos and other sanitary equipment can be sourced by a variety of means including local authorities and private contractors when necessary.

Capability in these areas can be further increased by requesting assistance through established mutual aid arrangements with EU partners.

The review announced by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 12 July will consider whether or not the existing arrangements for the provision of such items are adequate and make recommendations for improvement where necessary.