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Kent Community Risk Register 

High risks

These risks outlined on this page are classed as significant. They may have a high or low likelihood of occurrence, but their potential consequences are sufficiently serious to warrant appropriate consideration after those risks classed as ‘very high’. Consideration should be given to the development of strategies to reduce or eliminate the risks, but also mitigation in the form of at least (multi-agency) generic planning, exercising and training should be put in place and the risk monitored on a regular frequency.

Natural hazards - severe weather


Severe weather encompasses events including heavy snow, high winds, extreme temperatures, and heavy rain. Theses events can cause significant disruption as well as very serious health impacts.

The nature of the UK as an island, and Kent as a coastal region, mean that the weather can be very changeable and difficult to forecast.

Flooding - fluvial and surface water

Inland flooding can occur as a result of rivers over flowing their banks, groundwater becoming saturated, or surface water being unable to drain.

Consequences of flooding include: 

  • Risk to life and health. 

  • Damage to homes, businesses, communities, agricultural land and infrastructure. 

  • Evacuation of residents in short, medium and long-term phases. 

  • Disruption to utilities (electricity and water supply). 

  • Pollution and contamination of the environment. 

  • Impact on the local economy and businesses.

Local fluvial flooding

This assessment considers a 'sub-regional' event in which flows create a danger to life. Infrastructure and economic recovery could take between 6 and 18 months. The depth and velocity of water flows can be variable dependent on location and weather. Mutual aid may be required from other counties depending on the scale of the event.

Localised, extremely hazardous, flash flooding 

The assessment considers an incident in which rivers respond rapidly to rainfall and cause flooding. The Bourne and the Pent are examples of areas where flash flooding has occurred. The rivers are monitored constantly in order to alert residents of any potential for flooding, however due to the nature of the rainfall and rapid response it is possible that a flooding event could occur with no prior warning, giving as little as 15 minutes warning time. Whilst the flooding would be likely to last less that 24 hours it would pose a significant risk to life and could cause significant damage to infrastructure.

Visit our flooding advice page

Storm and Gales

The planning for this risk is based upon a reasonable worst case scenario of storm force winds affecting the county for at least six hours. Historical records suggest a reasonable forecast of wind speeds in excess of 55 miles per hour with gusts over 85 miles per hour.


This has the potential to cause significant damage to buildings and infrastructure. This can often be accompanied by periods of extremely heavy rainfall, with surface water having the potential to cause flash flooding or dangerous driving conditions.


The risk is more prevalent in exposed areas, particularly coastal communities.

Visit our high winds advice page

Low temperatures and heavy snow

Planning for this risk is based upon the reasonable worst case scenario of snow falling and lying over most of the county for at least seven days, with most lowland areas experiencing cover in excess of 30 centimetres with daily mean temperatures below 3°C.


Such a scenario may result in 'excess deaths' and cold weather related illness and injury (predominantly in vulnerable groups such as older people and those with chronic health problems).


There is also likely to be substantial disruption to transport networks, schools and businesses.


This hazard would also be accompanied by icy conditions including the risk of road traffic collisions and hospital admissions due to slips, trips and falls.


The Big freeze in 2018 had significant impacts on all residence within Kent and Medway, where frozen pipes resulted in the loss of drinking water.  Heating water outlet pipes froze resulting is houses being with our heating whilst temperatures remained below freezing for days on end.

Visit our extreme cold and snow page

Accidents or system failures

Railway incident - Channel Tunnel


The Channel Tunnel Fixed Link is a transport system providing a fixed and permanent link between the road and rail networks of the United Kingdom and France. The system comprises rail and road systems at the terminals situated in Cheriton near Folkestone and Coquelle in Nord Pas de Calais, France. The runnel is currently operated by 'Eurotunnel' under licences issues by the governments of the UK and France. The system is effectively made up of two single track rail tunnels running in opposite directs underneath the English Channel, which link the two terminals.

The runnel allows for four categories of traffic to travel between the UK and France: 

  • Private cars and coaches, normally transported on Tourist Shuttles 

  • Commercial vehicles, lorries, and HGV's, normally transported by Freight Shuttles 

  • International passenger trains operated by private train operating companies 

  • Goods trains operated by Eurotunnel and private train operating companies.

Due to the nature of the unique tunnel environment any incident or technical failure can result in people being confined or trapped in the tunnel for long periods of time. Any incident that does occur is likely to remain within the boundaries of the terminals and tunnel, however the disruption can cause significant wider traffic issues. The safety of the Channel Tunnel is closely monitored and overseen by the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority. This is a bi-national working group that closely assesses safety and ensures appropriate safety measures are implemented and maintained. The Channel Tunnel is regularly inspected and emergency services carry out specialist training and exercising to ensure that can respond to any incidents that do occur.


Bridge closure or collapse


Kent has a large number of bridges used for road, rail and pedestrian access. Of particular note are the OEII bridge linking Kent and Essex and the Sheppey Crossing which links the Isle of Sheppey to the mainland of Kent's major road routes and having bridges at regular intervals, such as M2 bridge crossing the river Medway at Strood, which carries motorway traffic and the CTRL high speed rail link.


The collapse of any bridge is likely to impact heavily on the infrastructure of Kent and will lead to transport problems and restrictions.


Impact to chemical, fuel, gas or electricity infrastructure


This threat includes a fire or explosion at a site near to a populated area where either fuel, flammable liquids, or toxic liquids are stored in bulk. Toxic chemicals are stored in bulk form throughout the county and the larger facilities are covered by COMAH (Control of Major Accident Hazards) Regulations, and therefore have bespoke plans in place. There are a large number of these sites in Kent, ranging from large scale storage to small scale.


Incidents at these sites could have an impact on their local communities as well as disruption to the wider community. As part of the regulations the sites and Local Authority carry out planning and awareness raising in the areas that could potentially be affected. This risk also covers incidents occurring during the transit of chemicals (which is also covered by HSE guidance).

Prolonged disruption to border control location


This assessment focusses on prolonged disruption at a border control location within the UK and specifically to Kent. A border control location is identified as a site that processes inbound and outbound freight checks. i.e. Sevington.


Societal risks

Industrial action by workers providing critical services


This risk covers industrial action by emergency services personnel, social care staff, and NHS medical, nursing and healthcare professionals. However, it must be recognised that industrial action by ancillary staff in those sectors and in unrelated sectors such as education are likely to lead to difficulties in delivering the normal standard of service by statutory agencies.


Emergency Services have well tested plans in place to ensure critical services are maintained, however the public may experience some reduction in service, particularly for lower priority calls.

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