Issued by the HSE, this consultation relates to administrative changes to the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015 (COMAH) which are required because of the dissolution of Public Health England (PHE).
The COMAH Regulations currently require operators of upper tier establishments to consult PHE in preparing an internal emergency plan (reg 12(5)(e)), if the establishment is situated in England.
COMAH also requires a local authority to prepare an external emergency plan for upper tier establishments in their area, and to review it at intervals not exceeding three years. In preparing and reviewing the external emergency plan, the Local Authorities (LAs) must consult with PHE (regs. 13(7)(d) and 14(3)(a)), if the establishment is situated in England.
In August 2020, the Government announced its plans to reform the public health system in England, including the dissolution of Public Health England. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), an Executive Agency of the Department of Health and Social Care, will take over the emergency planning functions previously carried out by PHE from 1 October 2021.
The proposed changes to COMAH consist of deleting references to Public Health England in regs 12(5)(e), 13(7)(d) and 14(3)(a) of COMAH 15 and replacing them with UK Health Security Agency.
This means that under the COMAH Regulations 2015, operators will be required to consult with UKHSA when preparing internal emergency plans and LAs will be required to consult with UKHSA when preparing and reviewing external emergency plans.
The consultation seeks the views of stakeholders on what, if any, changes they will need to make as a result of the amendments.
The consultation document, which includes a summary of the proposed amendments, is available here.
Response must be sent by 27 August 2021.
HSE August 2021