HC Deb 19 October 1992 vol 212 cc65-6W
Mr. Illsley

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) which local authorities and emergency services have been involved in exercises to practise the Government's contingency plan to deal with the effects in the United Kingdom of an overseas nuclear accident;

(2) what improvements have been made to the original Government contingency plan to deal with the United Kingdom effects of an overseas nuclear accident based on exercises to practise the plan;

(3) how frequently and on what occasions exercises have been carried out to practise the Government's contingency plan to deal with the effects on the United Kingdom of a nuclear accident occurring overseas.

Mr. Maclean

I have been asked to reply.

My Department has lead responsibilities for responding to overseas nuclear accidents, under the United Kingdom's national response plan arrangements.

There have been two exercises: the first, held in October 1988, did not involve local authorities. The second exercise was held in November 1991, and three local authorities were involved: Avon county council, Lancashire county council and West Midlands metropolitan borough council. Emergency services were not involved in either exercise.

Lessons learned from these exercises, and from our response to the St. Petersburg incident last March, have resulted in several improvements to internal procedures, but the national response plan itself remains unchanged from the statement made in the House on 30 June 1987, Hansard, columns 65–67, by the then Prime Minister, and subsequently set out in a booklet published by HMSO, entitled "The National Response Plan and Radioactive Incident Monitoring Network (RIMNET), A Statement of Proposals", copies of which are held in the Library.

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