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Council's role in an emergency (Emergency Planning)

As a Local Authority, we have a duty under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to support the emergency services in the case of a major incident. We are on call 24 hours and will coordinate the Councils response during a major incident.

We have a service level agreement with Derbyshire County Council to undertake its duties in line with the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. As part of this agreement, an Emergency Planning Officer works at the Town Hall,  Matlock for one a half days a week. Support on other issues such as risk assessment (eg hazardous site plans) is also provided by Derbyshire County Council.

The Emergency Planning section liaises on a regular basis with the Police, Fire, Ambulance and Health Services through Derbyshire County Council in preparing its emergency plans. These plans are tested regularly through joint training exercises.

What is a major incident/emergency?

  • Natural disasters such as floods and storms
  • Pollution i.e. spillages, radioactive substances, toxic gases
  • War or terrorism
  • Any incident which is a threat to the welfare of the community

The Emergency Plan

We have an Emergency Plan in order to deliver services during a major incident. The plan contains details of actions to be taken following a request for assistance. The plan is designed to cope with any emergency irrespective of where or when it occurs, and for this reason it must retain a degree of flexibility.

Some emergencies can be anticipated and the contingency plans mentioned below have been drawn to deal with these.

Response to Emergencies

The Emergency Planning Section supports the emergency services' response to incidents by providing resources (plant, equipment, premises, expertise, etc). The Emergency Planning Section also helps to co-ordinate the response from Parish Councils and voluntary agencies. In some emergencies, e.g. flooding, the Emergency Planning Section takes the lead role in the response supported by the emergency services.

Business Continuity

We have a Business Continuity Plan in place to ensure that in the event of any disruption such as severe weather, loss of premises or power failure key services can continue to be provided.

Training and Exercises

All agencies involved in the response to emergencies are trained in their roles. The plans are tested every three years to ensure that they would work efficiently and effectively in any emergency situation.

Risk Assessment

As a designated "Category 1" responder under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, we carry out Risk Assessments within our area.

This process involves working with our partners including the emergency services and health community to assess the level of risk for a range of potential hazard within the Derbyshire Dales. The types of hazard we are looking at cover a wide range and include the threats to human health, for example caused by a serious outbreak of a new human influenza virus, sometimes called "Pandemic Influenza". We also assess the likelihood of, and potential impacts associated with industrial accidents, flooding, transport accidents, the terrorist threat and serious disruption to supply of fuel, energy, communications and other essential services.

Our joint aim within Derbyshire, is to improve our capability to respond to any disruptive challenges and minimise the effects on our communities. We must also ensure that our own services are "resilient" and can continue to be delivered at the required level.

The Community Risk Registers are available from the Derbyshire Prepared website.

Derbyshire Local Resilience Forum

The Derbyshire Local Resilience Forum brings together all the responder organisations in the County, including the emergency services, health trusts, local authorities, Environment and Health Protection Agencies. 

The Derbyshire Local Resilience Forum is responsible for the overall direction and policies of emergency planning and preparation in Derbyshire to ensure the effective delivery of the duties under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.

Visit the Derbyshire Prepared website, which is run by the Derbyshire Local Resilience Forum, where you can find information and advice to help you better prepare if there was an emergency.

Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference of the Derbyshire Local Resilience Forum are:

  • The compilation of agreed risk profiles for Derbyshire, through a Community Risk Register;
  • A systematic, planned and co-ordinated approach to encourage Category 1 responders, according to their functions, to address all aspects of policy in relation to:
    • Risk
    • Planning for emergencies
    • Planning for business continuity management;
    • Publishing information about risk assessments and plans;
    • Arrangements to warn and inform the public; and
    • Other aspects of the civil protection duty, including the promotion of business continuity management by local authorities; and
  • Support for the preparation by all or some of it's members of multi-agency plans and other documents, including protocols and agreements and the co-ordination of multi-agency exercises and other training events.

Other plans

Hazardous Site Plans

We help prepare and maintain off-site emergency plans for hazardous sites in the District. The plans are designed to deal with the consequences of an incident that could have an affect beyond the site boundary. They set a framework for coordinating the response by the emergency services, local authority and company to any incident at the site. Provisions are included for warning the public, the possible effect on the environment and where necessary evacuation.


Many special events happen across the district throughout the year, those that attract large crowds including concerts and country fairs have a plan prepared by the district emergency planning officer in consultation with the emergency services and the event organisers.

The arrangements include:

  • control points
  • stewards
  • first aid
  • fire precautions
  • emergency announcements
  • signing
  • layout of site
  • access/egress for spectators and emergency services
  • the procedures to be implemented if there is an incident at the event.

Flood Contingency Plan

The aim of the Plan is to set out arrangements and provide information for responding to a flood or potential flood incident affecting the Derbyshire Dales.

In a flood emergency, we manages our own flood defences and monitor the actions of other agencies (Environment Agency etc), deal with enquiries from the public and provides resources (e.g. sandbags).

During periods of flooding in recent years we have:

  • Received calls for help from the public
  • Directed resources to affected areas
  • Provided information on affected areas to the public, County Council, Environment Agency, Police, Fire, Ambulance etc, and operated flood defence apparatus
  • Called in assistance through the County Council from the army, highways maintenance, voluntary organisations, etc.

Further information on flooding.


There is a statutory duty on Derbyshire County Council to prepare plans to deal with a major accident occurring on a pipeline carrying dangerous substances which are identified by the Health and Safety Executive. There is approximately 200 km of this in Derbyshire.


Procedures have been prepared for dealing with an emergency in a railway tunnel which includes evacuation and support of those involved.

Football Grounds

Plans are prepared for designated sports grounds detailing the joint response to a major incident, including the unit's assistance in the provision of temporary accommodation in an evacuation and support for those involved.

Notifiable Animal Disease Contingency Plan

This Plan outlines procedures to ensure a co-ordinated response in the event of an outbreak, or suspected outbreak, of a notifiable animal disease. The main role of Derbyshire Dales and the County Council is to catch and detain stray animals.

Warning and Informing Plan

In a major emergency the requirements of the media for fast early information will cause extreme pressure on all agencies involved. The Warning and Informing Plan has been developed by the County Council to minimise the pressure on those operational staff directly involved in the incident. It also aims to ensure the best possible response to the media and the Emergency Planning Unit could provide premises for press centres.

Humanitarian Assistance Plan

The Humanitarian Assistance Plan provides a framework to enable category 1 responders to provide a quick and effective response in providing humanitarian assistance to individuals and communities affected by an emergency.
Radiation Emergency Response Guidance

A response plan has been prepared to cover a possible radiation emergency affecting the Derbyshire Dales area.

Information Technology

Resources Database

A Resources Database has been developed by Derbyshire to provide resources in support of the emergency services that are not currently available within the Local Authority. Three hundred and fifty firms have agreed to be part of this Database and to be available to provide resources 24 hours a day.

Geographic Information System

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is used by the Emergency Planning Unit. This computerised System displays information against a mapped background, e.g. properties, infrastructure, resources or population statistics in a given area. This is particularly useful in responding to emergencies but is an important planning tool.