HL Deb 23 July 1986 vol 479 cc371-2WA
Lord Renton

Asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will give an assessment of local authorities' civil defence preparedness and if they will make a further statement on the planned programme for the implementation of Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) Regulations 1983.

Lord Glenarthur

A number of local authorities are making encouraging progress in meeting their civil defence responsibilities. But the rate of progress varies considerably and there is a great deal still to be done before there is a satisfactory and balanced state of preparedness across the country. We therefore propose to require local authorities to pursue a rolling three-year programme setting priorities and a timetable for implementation of the 1983 regulations. The programme emphasises the central importance of detailed operational civil defence plans. It sets six-monthly target dates for their staged completion in all counties within two to three years. New guidance on the preparation of plans and on the all hazards approach will also be issued to accompany the programme.

I have placed in the Library copies of a report on the present state of local authority civil defence preparedness; the proposed three-year planned programme for implementation of the 1983 regulations; and drafts of the new guidance.

In the context of the programme and as part of the discussion of civil defence grant estimates, the department will review progress annually with individ-ual authorities and agree detailed objectives for the following year. Officials are writing today to the local authority associations seeking comments, and my right honourable friend intends that the final programme should be issued to local authorities in October.

The Government intend that all local authorities shall carry out their statutory civil defence responsibilities and hope the programme will be recognised as a constructive and necessary focus for this vital work. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland is making broadly similar arrangements in Scotland.