§ Mr. Alton
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what assessment he has made of the operation of the emergency plans required under the Control of Industrial Major. Accident Hazards Regulations 1984 in dealing with the recent chemical emission at the International Biosynthetics plant on Merseyside; and if he will make a statement about the co-ordination of information and emergency services on Merseyside in the event of a chemical or radiation incident.
§ Mr. Forth
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is investigating the accident at the International Biosynethetics plant. The investigation includes discussions with the Merseyside fire and civil defence authority to establish whether any changes are required to the off-site emergency plan for the site as required by regulation 11(1) of the Control of Industrial Major Accident Hazards Regulations (CIMAH) 1984.
Emergency plans are usually drawn up locally; this is normally done by the local authorities at county level or the fire and civil defence authorities in the metropolitan areas. HSE is also involved as the enforcing authority for regulations requiring the preparation of off-site emergency plans for the limited number of sites subject to CIMAH regulation 11. Comprehensive emergency plans for civil nuclear installations are currently prepared by the licensee as a condition of the site licence. In October, the Health and Safety Commission published proposals to put off site planning at these installations on the same basis as the CIMAH regulations.
HSE publishes advice to assist emergency planners in these areas in the form of two booklets "Arrangements for responding to nuclear emergencies" and "The Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1984 (CIMAH): further guidance on emergency plans".