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Influenza: Contingency Planning

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 16 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many officials in his Department at each payband are working on contingency arrangements in the energy industry for pandemic flu. (286863)

Currently there are 14 officials working in part on contingency arrangements for pandemic flu broken down as follows:

1 x SCS

1 x Grade 6

4 x Grade 7s

4 x SEOs

1 x HEO

3 x EOs.

Our response arrangements are kept under review.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions Ministers in his Department have had with (a) National Grid, (b) energy supply companies and (c) electricity generators on contingency planning for pandemic flu since 1 January 2009. (286864)

DECC officials have been working closely with National Grid, energy companies and electricity generators through the Energy Emergencies Executive Committee (E3C) on contingency arrangements for a pandemic influenza. Ministers are updated regularly and work is continuing to ensure the energy sector is well prepared should there be any impact on energy supplies. DECC Ministers have been advised by National Grid that robust contingency arrangements are in place to maintain energy supplies during a flu pandemic.

Currently, energy supplies are being delivered normally.

Along with other Government Departments, DECC Ministers and officials have also been in attendance at the weekly meetings of the Civil Contingencies Committee, held at COBR, which decides the overall Government response strategy to the pandemic.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether Ministers in his Department plan to meet (a) the National Grid, (b) energy supply companies and (c) electricity generators to discuss contingency arrangements for pandemic influenza in the next three months. (286865)

Ministers meet regularly with National Grid, energy companies, and electricity generators to discuss a wide range of factors that could impact on energy supplies, including the risks to energy supplies of pandemic flu. I plan to meet shortly with National Grid and one of the issues for discussion will be contingency arrangements for pandemic flu. Regular updates on the pandemic flu outbreak are provided to the energy sector by DECC officials, and through Business Link, Directgov, Department of Health and NHS websites.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department has taken to acquire stocks of (a) influenza vaccine and (b) anti-viral medicine; and if he will make a statement. (286866)

The Department has taken no steps to acquire stocks of anti-viral medicine or influenza vaccines.