Emergency response

Planning is an important part of the work of DEPP. Together with the emergency services and other partners we make plans so that if there is a major emergency, the people of Devon are protected and essential services are restored as quickly as possible. The plans detail how local services will work together to respond to any type of emergency. Plans are reviewed and updated on a regular basis and are also exercised and tested.

Following the activation of any multi-agency emergency plan, a multi-agency debrief will always take place to ensure key learning points are identified and incorporated into emergency response planning in the future.

To view available Local Resilience Forum plans, protocols and frameworks go to the LRF Plans page.

General response to an emergency

The Combined Agency Emergency Response Protocol (CAERP), produced by the Devon and Cornwall Local Resilience Forum, is an overarching protocol through which all emergencies are managed within the LRF area. As at November 2022 this plan was being reviewed.

The DEPP Major Incident Response Plan and Recovery Guidance is a generic plan which details how local authorities will react to a major incident affecting Devon.

Arrangements for ensuring the continued provision of the County Council’s services are documented in the DCC Business Continuity Plans.

Coastal pollution

Devon County Council is responsible for development of the multi-agency contingency plan for the response and clean-up of a major pollution incident affecting the north or south coasts of Devon. We are also responsible for leading the co-ordination of the clean-up of a major pollution incident that affects more than one district authority.

The Coastal Pollution Plan details arrangements in Devon to respond to major incidents of coastal pollution. The plan is currently being reviewed in line with the MCA National Contingency Plan and updated Scientific Technical and Operational (STOP) Notices.

Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and explosive (CBRNe) incidents

These incidents, which may involve the release of materials into the general environment, are responded to under the assumption that they are intentional and malicious (including terrorism, with the ‘e’ representing the enhanced (improvised) explosive threat). Although this definition differs from a HazMat (Hazardous Material) incident, which may be of an accidental release nature (road tanker collision, factory fire etc), the principles of the response are so similar that they are likely to be initially dealt with in the same manner. Incidents may involve an instantaneous release or circumstances may allow for a period of warning and informing, for example, a potential nuclear release incident.

There is a need to be prepared for the possible release of CBRN material within the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Resilience Forum (LRF) area. Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service in conjunction with the multi-agency partner representatives, prepared the LRF’s CBRNe Response Framework to detail the response arrangements. The initial response to any incident would be local, but if the release is over a wide area and/or the scale and complexity of release is great, then regional or central government would take a lead role and make available sufficient resources to facilitate a response to the incident.

Our colleagues at Plymouth City Council have responsibility for off-site planning in response to a nuclear incident in the Devonport Dockyard. If you live or work in the area you can register with the Emergency Notification System.

Industrial incidents

The Control of Major Accident Hazard Regulations 2015 requires Devon County Council to lead in the development of an off-site plan for any site identified as needing one, by the Health and Safety Executive. The only site in Devon identified by HSE is the Calor Gas Site at Lee Mill.

The Calor Gas Ltd, Lee Mill, COMAH Off-Site Major Accident Emergency Plan; a multi-agency response plan would be used in a major incident together with the on-site plan, developed by Calor Gas Ltd.A Major Accident Hazard Pipeline (MAHP) Plan for Devon, Torbay and Plymouth, has been prepared on a similar basis to respond to a major incident in high pressure gas pipelines which run through the County.

The Mining Waste Directive 2011 requires Devon County Council to lead in the development of an off-site plan for any site identified by the Environment Agency as a Category A site. The only site in Devon identified by the EA is Drakelands Mine, Hemerdon.

A Major Accident Off-Site Emergency Plan: a multi-agency response plan would be used in a major incident, together with an on-site plan, these were originally written in conjunction with Wolf Minerals (UK) Ltd. The plans are due to be reviewed and amended in consultation with the new owners of the mine Tungsten West.

Animal health

The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), in particular the State Veterinary Service, leads in the development of contingency plans for animal disease outbreaks, and co-ordinates any response required, including Avian Flu.

Devon County Council is the responsible Local Authority in Devon, under the Animal Health Act 1981. Work is undertaken by their Trading Standards Service. The Head of Trading Standards is the principal officer in Animal Health matters, and will initiate, supervise and co-ordinate action to meet responsibilities, in conjunction with DEFRA.

The Exotic Disease Control Plan and the Rabies Plan detail the response to a major incident with regard to birds and animals.