Climate Change Commission of Enquiry Hearing 4, 19th September 2007 Report of the County Emergency Planning Officer (and Chairman of the Emergency Planning Society), Ian Hoult 1.0 Introduction 1.1 The Emergency Planning Unit submitted a report to Hearing 2 (Infrastructure) of the Commission setting out some of the issues relating to climate change which impact upon emergency planning in a general context. Via this paper and a subsequent presentation I shall be making to the Commission on 19th September this report aims to give a sharper focus to some of the issues debated. This paper also aims to answer some questions raised at Hearing 2 in respect of emergency planning. 1.2 In my capacity as Chairman of the Emergency Planning Society, the professional organisation for emergency planning practitioners nationally in the UK and Republic of Ireland, I recently appeared on the Newsnight television programme and have been specifically asked to refer to the points I made on that occasion for the benefit of the Commission. 2.0 National issues 2.1 The early Summer of this year saw large parts of the Country seriously affected by flooding. There was a great deal of media interest in the flooding and of course as the situation began to improve the media moved into the “who is to blame?” mode. In my national role I was invited to appear on Newsnight and answer some specific questions in relation to this. Bearing in mind that emergency planning officers are solely interested in consequence management and the causes are largely irrelevant I made the following points. Parts of the Country which experienced a ‘better’ response to the situation were those where a clear and strategic command and control procedure had been put in place and done early in the response timeframe. When asked why this hadn’t been done everywhere I explained that unlike practically every other type of emergency imaginable for flooding there is no one single agency at both national and local level that takes the lead role. Therefore if no one agency comes to the fore at a local level and makes it happen – it doesn’t happen. 2.2 I went on to add that it makes no difference which agency is given that role, Police, Fire or Local Authority, as we are all used to doing that for different types of emergency, but Government should give one of those agencies that Lead role. Locally in Hampshire we have a County wide Flood Plan and have agreed that Hampshire County Council would be the lead agency in responding to a flood event. 3.0 Other Issues 3.1 For Hampshire County Council I believe that one of the best ways of ensuring that the issues around climate change are addressed is by factoring in the influences into both the County Council’s Corporate Risk Register and also the Hampshire Resilience Forum’s Community Risk Register. It is my view that climate change should not only be addressed as a risk in its own right but rather that the potential effects of climate change are taken into account when assessing other risks in terms of the Corporate Risk Register that would mean looking the effects upon approach to transport and transport infrastructure; the Basingstoke Canal; the way we deliver our services in terms of IT resilience, Business Continuity Arrangements; financial risk management; and the way we allocate resources in general. 3.2 For the Local Resilience Forum Community Risk Register the key areas where climate change would influence the risk assessment and the subsequent need to have plans in place are for issues such as storms and gales; low temperatures and heavy snow; flooding, coastal, tidal, fluvial, flash flooding and groundwater flooding; heatwave; land movement, tremors and landslides. For all of these risks and for those mentioned in 3.1 above it is possible that climate change will influence both aspects of risk assessment i.e. the likelihood of these events occurring and, or, the consequences of these events should they happen. Additionally all of this has budgetary considerations as if new plans, procedures and arrangements are required AND there will be a requirement to respond to these events more often and for more significant effects then these will require additional funding. 3.3 Of particular note is the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 in two regards: firstly it gives Hampshire County Council a statutory duty to prevent emergencies from occurring as far as is reasonably practicable. To what extent do experts consider climate change is a preventable emergency and therefore how should the County Council exercise its statutory duty under the CCA in this respect; secondly the Act requires HCC to put into place arrangements to ensure it can respond to emergencies and continue to deliver its services to the population of Hampshire during times of emergency. To what extent can Hampshire continue to do these in the face of the effects of climate change, is this achievable? Is climate change in its own right a foreseeable emergency we must prepare for and have plans to mitigate the effects of? 3.4 I have mentioned above the Hampshire Local Resilience Forum, a process comprised of all agencies which have a statutory duty to respond to emergencies – the Police, Fire, Health, Coastguard, Environment Agency, local authorities. I would pose the following question for the Commission to consider: how much is it down to HCC to resolve these issues or should we be looking to set up a Hampshire wide multi agency body to look at the potential consequences of climate change? 4.0 Conclusion 4.1 I look forward to addressing the Commission on 19th September and exploring in more detail these and other issues.