A virtual exercise took place recently for the Runcorn Site COMAH Operators to test and validate the effectiveness of the External Emergency Response Plan that would be used in the event of a major emergency at the site.

Halton Borough Council has a statutory duty under the Control of Major Accident Hazard (COMAH) Regulations to produce a Multi–Agency Emergency COMAH Response Plan for the Runcorn site.

These regulations govern chemical sites that make, store or handle hazardous substances and are designed to ensure that effective measures are in place to protect people and the environment in the event of a major chemical emergency.

Therefore, a virtual table-top exercise was held as part of the routine testing schedule and was conducted in a COVID–secure way. In addition to Halton Borough Council, INOVYN ChlorVinyls and Packed Chlorine Limited, the exercise involved representatives from the emergency services, who would manage the response to a major emergency, along with the Environment Agency.

Cllr Dave Cargill, the Council’s Executive Board member for Risk and Emergency Planning, said: “The testing of this plan is invaluable to all agencies involved in the exercise.  It provides reassurance to all involved that, in the unlikely event of an incident occurring on site, a quick and efficient response would take place to mitigate the off-site effects for the community and the borough of Halton.

“This is the first time we have held a virtual exercise as we obviously could not run it in the usual way, so I would like to thank everyone involved for making sure it could take place and achieve its aims.”

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