Emergency Planning

Under the Civil Contingencies Act the Council has a statutory duty to ensure the resilience of the Council’s response to a ‘major incident’ and a ‘major Incident stand-by.’

We work with partner agencies such as the emergency services, health services, utility companies and voluntary agencies as part of the Cheshire Resilience Forum to plan for and respond to emergencies.

Our aim is to minimise the impact of any emergency on the community and the local environment and manage the return to normality.

  • Emergency planning– we assess the risks posed in Halton and develop and maintain emergency plans for each. Halton Borough Council’s Major Emergency Plan demonstrates the arrangements that are in place to assist in the response to such incidents efficiently and effectively.
  • Partnership Working – we work closely with partner agencies within the Cheshire Resilience Forum (LRF) , ensuring our plans are aligned and that we are prepared to respond to emergencies in a coordinated way.
  • Information sharing and co-operation – we share information with LRF partners for planning and responding to incidents in Halton.
  • Training and exercising (with other agencies) -  we plan and participate in exercises with partner agencies including, emergency services, Health, the Environment Agency, the HSE and industrial companies as necessary.
  • Training and exercising (our own staff) -  We have a team of volunteers within the council to assist us in the response to a major incident.
  • Warning and informing the public – we must provide the public with information during and after an incident.

We produce a ‘Major Emergency Plan’ to provide a framework for managing the council’s response to a Major Incident / Major Incident Standby, which cannot be dealt with through normal procedures. (All sensitive information has been removed from this document)

  • Notification - we are informed of Major Incidents or Major Incident Standbys by responding emergency services. For out of hours notifications, the Council operates a 24/7 on-call rota system to ensure we are able to provide an appropriate emergency response at all times.
  • Co-ordination - following the declaration of an incident, the Council will work with partner agencies to ensure the response is co-ordinated and ensure appropriate departments are kept informed.
  • Collaborative Working – The Council’s response relies on a team made up of internal staff and from the voluntary agencies who will work together to ensure practical and emotional support is provided to those affected by the incident. This may include:
    • Arranging transport and temporary accommodation for evacuees if they are not able to stay with Friends and Family and where there is no assistance from Landlords or Insurance Companies
    • Supporting the emergency response by arranging and implementing traffic diversions and road closures in conjunction with the police
    • Assisting other partners to warn and inform the public about the emergency, this may include establishing local helplines or information and enquiry points
    • Providing technical expertise in areas such as building control, bridges, roads and highway drainage



The Council takes the lead on recovery, aiming to restore normality back to the local community.

A multi-agency Recovery Working Group would be established, under the direction of a Senior Council Manager, to consider and set a strategy for the following:

  • Human Aspects, Welfare and Health considerations; including any health surveillance, follow up visits, access to emotional / practical support.
  • Community Recovery
  • Environmental Recovery
  • Business and Economic Recovery
  • Finance including any Disaster Relief Fund
  • Communications

The Control of Major Accident Hazard (COMAH) Regulations applies mainly to the chemical industry, but also to some storage activities, explosives, nuclear sites and other industries where the threshold for quantities of dangerous substances identified in the Regulations are stored or used.

To ensure the safety of the community, Halton Borough Council, as the Local Authority, has a statutory duty to write and test an external plan for sites covered by these Regulations.

To ensure the community are aware what actions to take in the event of a major accident on the site, a safety letter and information is sent out every 5 years to the community around the site. This is known as the Public Information Zone (PIZ).

There are currently 9 COMAH sites in Halton, where 6 sites form Runcorn Site COMAH Operators

Runcorn Site COMAH Operators
  • IINEOS Inovyn
  • INEOS Enterprises Ltd
  • Vynova Runcorn Ltd
  • Koura Ltd
  • Runcorn MCP Ltd
  • Packed Chlorine Ltd
Information for residents
Univar Ltd, Widnes
Lanxess Widnes Ltd , Dans Road, Widnes
ICoNiChem Widnes Ltd, formerly Shepherd Widnes Ltd

Cross Border COMAH Site

Vertellus Specialities Ltd, Lower Bank Road, Widnes, is a Upper Tier COMAH Site, which is located close to the boundary of Halton. The site has a responsibility to ensure local residents and businesses receive safety information, who are located within the Public Information Zone (PIZ) of the site. Due to the close proximity of the site to Halton, a number of residents and business will receive this safety information.



Pipelines carrying hazardous substances are present in parts of Halton.  In the unlikely event of an accident occurring plans have been produced to protect the public and the environment. Copies of Halton Borough Council’s Major Accident Hazard Pipeline Plan is held internally and externally.


The North West Flood Hub is a one stop shop to help householders, businesses, communities and landowners across the North West become more flood resilient.

Flood investigations

Under Section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, Halton Borough Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), has a duty to investigate incidents of flooding that have a significant local impact.

Reports are investigated if it has one or more of the following impacts: 

  • caused internal flooding to a property used for residential or commercial purposes
  • resulted in major disruption to the flow of traffic
  • posed, or could have posed, a risk to human health
  • adversely affected the functioning of critical infrastructure
  • caused harmful impacts to environmentally or socially important assets 

The purpose of an investigation is to: 

  • investigate the what, when, why, and how the incident took place
  • act as a means of identifying potential future recommendations for actions to minimise the risk or impact of future flooding
  • These investigations (Section 19 reports) outline recommendations and actions that various organisations and authorities can do to minimise flood risk in affected areas. It is important to note that a Section 19 report is not an in-depth analysis of flooding risks or mechanisms.

Section 19 Completed Investigations



The Cheshire Resilience Forum is here to prepare for, respond to and recover from any emergency. We bring together your local emergency services, National Health Service and local authorities, plus other agencies who can help to prepare and respond to any event.