Why we plan for emergencies

Our moral obligations

As a responsible local authority, it's necessary to plan for any emergency situation within the borough. Southwark is a very diverse London borough, with a large number of residents, workers and visitors as well as those who pass through every day on their way to work or school. We need to make sure that if and when an incident occurs, our response and recovery plans are ready to be put into action and any disruption is minimised.

Our legal obligations

The current legislation that covers emergency planning is the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. Under the Act, all local authorities are classed as category 1 responders. Other category 1 responders include the emergency services and the Environment Agency.

This category means local authorities have to ensure that they can respond effectively to emergencies. Every local authority has to assess the risk of any emergencies in their borough and publish plans that outline their emergency response to these incidents. The plans are reviewed regularly. A schedule of training and exercise is built into the procedures to ensure every element of the plans is tested and practiced, which means all responders are aware of their roles and are fully prepared for all types of events.

The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 was recently introduced to instil a more risk-based approach to improve both flood risk management and the way we manage our water resources. The new legislation gives local authorities a new lead role in managing local flood risk from surface water, ground water and ordinary watercourses, whilst the Environment Agency maintains a strategic overview role for all flood risk.

Other regulations

There are other regulations covering specific hazardous sites or pipelines that require a local authority to plan for in the event of an emergency. These are:

  • The Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001 (REPPIR)
  • Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 (COMAH)
  • The Pipelines Safety Regulations 1996

There are no hazards covered by the above legislation in Southwark. Copies of all legislation can be found on the Legislation website managed by the National Archives.

Page last updated: 18 August 2017