HC Deb 31 October 1957 vol 575 cc88-9W
85. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the statement by Air Marshal Sir Lawrence Pendred, Midland Regional Director of Civil Defence, on 25th September, that the Government was planning to evacuate 40 per cent. to 45 per cent. of the population of the highly industrialised areas in case of war, and that the Government expected to get five minutes' notice of an atomic attack, was made with his authority; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The statement in question was made at a Conference of Industrial Civil Defence Officers which the Regional Director attended under my authority. On 28th February, 1956, the then Minister of Defence informed the House that a revised evacuation scheme was to be discussed with the local authority associations. This might, on the average, involve 45 per cent. of the population of the most densely populated areas. It is, of course, contemplated that any evacuation scheme would have been carried out in advance of the outbreak of hostilities. The short notice applies to the local warning of the approach of an actual attack.