Guernsey States create permanent emergency panel

The States of Guernsey has agreed to set up a permanent panel to assess threats and react to emergencies.

It follows the inquiry into the airport firefighters recommending the setting up of a body dealing with matters falling short of an emergency.

The new Civil Contingencies Authority will be made up of the chief minister and three specified ministers.

Deputies also approved changes to the emergency power laws, which date back to 1965.

Chief Minister Lyndon Trott said: "The new legislation will deal with emergencies which represent threats to human welfare, to live, limb, food supply and the provision of services.

"Threats to the environment such as the contamination of land, air or water and threats to animal and plant life and lastly threats to the security of the islands from war or terrorism."

Representatives of the States of Alderney and Sark Chief Pleas will be allowed temporary membership of the panel if a threat or emergency affects those islands as well.

The new panel will also be allowed to call on any person who may have relevant knowledge or experience, although they would not have a vote.

It will have to report to the States annually.

Deputies also voted in favour of a motion from Deputy Peter Gillson that more detail be drafted into the new laws about who would be called on if the relevant department ministers or the chief minister were not available.

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