Kent Community Risk Register
In the context of the Kent Community Risk Register the risks outlined on this page are assessed as less significant, but may cause impacts and inconvenience in the short term. These risks should be monitored to ensure that they are being appropriately managed and consideration given to their being managed under generic emergency.
Accident and system failure risks.
Maritime pollution incident
This risk assessment considers incidents occurring from ships at sea, at anchor, or alongside discharging any form of heavy oil, fuel or petroleum that will potentially have a significant impact on the aquatic ecosystem, marine life, coastline, agricultural produce, commerce, tourism, and potentially displacement of local communities (due to risk of explosion or fire from fumes). The effects of such a discharge could be long term.
Depending on the nature of the environmental contamination there could be impacts on air, land water, animal welfare, agriculture, and waste management. There may be a need for extensive clear up operations on shore and at sea, and there may potentially be long term restrictions put in place, e.g. for fishing.
Major pollution of inland water and fresh water
The pollution of controlled waters, including surface and groundwater, is a significant threat to the numerous and extensive river systems and underground aquifers in Kent. The supply and demand of water is an important resource to the day to day activities of the county. All drinking water in Kent is supplied from either a river or groundwater source and it is therefore important to safeguard these.
Land based marine coastal and estuary pollution
This risk relates to pollution by sewage, oil or agricultural run-off , fly-tipping or algae.
A system failure creating an unconsented discharge of raw sewage being discharged for hours/days impacting coast-line/beaches in a single or multiple local authority area(s). The impact from tidal, currents and weather will spread the sewage along the Kent coastline, causing multiple sites requiring clean-up and potentially seeing a change in biodiversity.
Large oil spills that travel downstream from large domestic/commercial on land oil tanks impacting the coastline.
Agriculture run off of chemicals from farm land into the river system (Medway and Swale Estuary).
Flying tipping or waste management sites that are situated near rivers could see localised pollution dependant on the items disposed of leaking harmful chemicals into nearby rivers
Wide range of algae species that inhabit inland waters and estuaries. Algae blooms require other growth requirements such as light, flows and temperatures. Sometimes confused with sewage or oil pollution the blooms can cause foaming and water discolouration. Blooms and scum forming algae can be produce toxins. These toxins can kill aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, livestock and domestic pets. In humans, they can cause rashes after skin contact and illnesses if swallowed.
The demographic of water may see nutrients impacting the water quality that could cause long-term biodiversity impacts.
The Kent Resilience Forum works together to maintain a high quality of protection to minimise and mitigate potential environmental damage from pollution incidents. The most likely source of such a pollution incident would be industrial or commercial accidents. In addition to its value as a resource the river networks support a rich and diverse ecology which would be impacted by any pollution.
Loss of drinking water
This assessment relates to a complete loss of water supplies. This would mean domestic, industrial, and agricultural premises would have no piped water and fire tenders would not be able to use fire hydrants within the affected area.
Water companies have an obligation to provide domestic customers with at least 10 litres of drinking water per person per day until supply is restored. This is done by a variety of means such as water bowsers or bottled water. Priority is given to vulnerable customers and those with special needs. Water companies are also required to give priority to hospitals and schools and have due regard for livestock and essential food industries. It may not, however, be possible to maintain a full service at hospitals, schools, and other businesses. Water companies have well established plans in place to ensure that they can fulfill their obligations.
The reasonable worst case scenario considers a loss of water for up to 3 days over a wide area affecting up to 50,000 people, with schools, hospitals, businesses, and domestic residences affected. This would cause public health and sanitation issues.
Loss of gas
This risk impacts on businesses and communities due to the lack of heating and hot water. It impedes the ability to cook and maintain hygiene. The Kent Resilience Forum works with the gas industry and health and social care agencies to identify vulnerable people and ensure provision of alternative supplies for those impacted.
Maritime accident and blockage of a port
Kent has significant ports with the sea ports of Dover, Ramsgate, Thamesport, Sheerness, Dartford and the unique Channel Tunnel. These ports handle exclusively, or combinations, of freight and passengers. This risk considers the potential for a cumulative delay of 30 days as well as a continuous delay. Loss of a key port is likely to have an initial wider impact, this assessment considers the risks and threats from this initial impact as well as the longer term impacts although the planning assumptions expect the impacts to reduce over time as shippers seek alternative ports or methods of shipping.
Incident in road tunnel
There are five significant road tunnels within the Kent Strategic Road Network which are covered by European Tunnel Regulations. Incidents in these tunnels have the potential to cause fatalities and casualties, as well as significant disruption to the strategic road network. Such incidents could potentially involve complex rescues for the emergency services. The five tunnels within Kent are the Dartford Crossing, Medway Tunnel, Ramsgate New Harbour Approach, Round Hill Tunnel and Chestfield Tunnel.
Railway incident including tunnel
This risk looks at the potential for a collision or incident occurring on the railway network. There are a number of variables that could case accidents to occur with past incidents coming about from a variety of sources. This assessment assumes that the incident is confined within the working boundaries of the railway network and has not significantly impacted on other premises. Such incidents can result in casualties, which will generally be confined to passengers and crew.
The risk considers a worst case scenario of the collision of two commercial planes in Kent airspace. Such an incident is likely to lead to fatalities of crew and passengers, with complex casualties on the ground. Such incidents are most likely to occur during take off and landing, with damage likely to occur within the airport or airfield complex.
Major shipping incident
This risk assessment considers the sinking of a passenger vessel in, or close to UK waters (including inland waterways), leading to the ships full or partial evacuation or abandonment at sea. Passenger vessels have well rehearsed evacuation and safety procedures to ensure the safety of all on board. There is a potential for casualties among the crew and passengers, as well as the need for a complex rescue and disruption to shipping routes.
This risk includes the collapse of buildings (including domestic, commercial etc) and may be realised for a variety of reasons. People may be trapped by the building collapse, as well as damage to local road networks and utilities.
Major Reservoir/Dam failure or collapse
The planning for this risk is based upon a reasonable worst case scenario of a no notice failure of a reservoir or dam. Due to the nature of the event there would be no time to evacuate and emergency services would have no pre-warning. Flooding would last less than 24 hours, however water would be flowing and cause significant risk to life and damage to infrastructure. Substantial controls are in place to ensure that the likelihood of this risk occurring is very low.
Animal disease risks
Non-zoonotic notifiable animal disease
(eg Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Classical Swine Fever (CSF), Bluetongue and Newcastle Disease (of birds))
These diseases can be spread by direct and indirect contact (including being wind borne) and can lead to devastating impacts for livestock, resulting in infected and exposed animals being culled for welfare reasons. The most serious disease in this category is FMD. The assessment for this risk is based on the need to cull up to 4 million animals across Great Britain, with the whole becoming a 'controlled area', meaning that susceptible livestock will be prohibited from all movements until licensed. Although the impact of the disease will vary between areas the nature of the industry means that infected animals may have been moved to other premises before the disease is detected, resulting in widely dispersed numerous out breaks. Transmission to humans is very unlikely and would not be expected to be fatal.
Zoonotic notifiable animal disease
(eg Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), Rabies and West Nile Virus) These are diseases which predominantly affect animals, but can also be transmitted to humans. Transmission is though direct contact, most commonly through water, feed, faeces and bites. Although the impact of a disease outbreak will vary between areas, the likelihood of a disease incursion cannot be differentiated between areas. These diseases can be spread by migratory birds as well as other sources. If introduced into a domestic population it is likely that the flock will require culling. Vaccination tends to be ineffective against an outbreak due to the time taken for the immunity to develop. This risk assessment is made against a reasonable worst case scenario of culling up to 30 million poultry, plus the possibility of wildlife being affected (most likely by Rabies). For West Nile virus it is reasonable to assume up to 1000 horses could need to be slaughtered.
Natural hazards - severe weather
A heatwave is an extended period of hot weather relative to the expected conditions of the area at that time of year.
The UK does not have a formal definition of what constitutes a heatwave, however the World Meteorological Organisation defines it as when the maximum temperature is more than five consecutive days exceeds the normal maximum average temperature by 5°C.
The event will typically be triggered from air coming from the Mediterranean and North Africa (with the potential including of Saharan Dust). The air will be very warm and humid with the threat of thunderstorms.
The high humidity makes conditions uncomfortable and prevents temperatures from lowering overnight. During these conditions pollution may also be trapped closed to the ground causing additional issues for those with respiratory conditions such as Asthma.
The extreme heat can cause secondary impacts such as damage to infrastructure through the melting of tarmac or buckling of rails, increased risks of heath-land fires, and additional pressure on the power network through higher demand for climate control systems.
The planning for this risk is based on an unprecedented scenario if 3 consecutive dry winters. In general terms water supplies fall during the summer and are replenished over the winter. If there is insufficient rainfall during the winter then there may be shortages during the following summer. UK water stocks are sufficient to manage one dry winter with minimal intervention, albeit with publicity campaigns to save water would likely be implemented towards the end of summer. Following a second dry winter reservoir stocks would be anticipated to be very low and high level publicity campaigns would be implemented during spring.
Hosepipe bans would be introduced and additional leakage control teams would be deployed. Due to the low water levels there would be issues with fish deaths and algal blooms. At this point water companies may consider apply for a 'non-essential use ban'. This would make it illegal to wash buildings and windows.
Water companies may also apply for 'drought permits' which would allow them to abstract water from different areas and reduce flow rates through pipes. Following a third consecutive dry winter there would be substantial shortages. Further 'drought permits' may be issued allowing abstraction from protected areas, farmers may be prevented from abstracting water on their sites, and rota cuts may be introduced.
Enforcement of non-essential use would be stepped up. Rota cuts would be implemented for 'non essential' customers to priorities supplies for the public. The use of de-salinization plants (a process which removes the salt from sea water) may also be considered to provide additional supplies. All water companies have robust emergency plans in place to ensure they can continue to provide water to the public.
Poor air quality
Light winds under a high pressure system leads to the pollution being trapped in place for days at a time before stronger winds or a weather front clears it. For Kent, poor air quality is most likely when we have easterly winds (bringing pollution off the continent), a north-westerly wind (bringing pollution off London), southerly winds (very occasionally bringing Sahara Dust from Africa).
Local wildfires could also lead to poor air quality especially during the peak period of mid spring to early summer. Climate Change could see an increased risk of conditions that could lead to poor air quality especially during the spring and summer months. Kent – EU Exit specific: Severe weather events may impact Eurotunnel and Port of Dover residing in of high volumes of freight on the Kent Road network (Op Fennel). Dartford Tunnel during peak travel times sees high volumes of carbon dioxide from traffic on the M25.
This risk related to the changing environmental conditions in near-Earth space which which could cause disruption to infrastructure and services. For more information visit the Met Office website.
This risk is based on a scenario where filling stations, depending on their locations, start to 'run dry' within a period of 24-48 hours. Panic buying would exacerbate the situation, and replenishment of sites could take between 3-10 days (depending on location). The situation would depend largely on whether drivers from other companies would be prepared to cross picket lines or protests, whether companies judged that they were able to maintain safe operations in the presence of picket lines or protests, and the extent of the supply of fuel from other sources.
This relates to an event that would see criminal damage to public or private property, increase increased crime or arson, rioting, looting and reduced community cohesion. This may lead to public safety concerns and impact on emergency services, and may require a significant policing response and public reassurance messaging, which world be coordinated by Kent Resilience Forum partners.
Major food contamination incidents
Industrial accident (chemical, microbiological, nuclear) affecting food production areas. e.g Chernobyl, Sea Empress Oil Spill and animal disease.
Contamination of animal feed, e.g. dioxins, BSE.
Incidents arising production processes, e.g. adulteration of chilli power with Sudan I dye.
This risk assessment covers the various risk associated with contamination of the food chain, resulting in potential implications for hum health. There are a number of distribution and storage centres within Kent food production and preparation businesses, and a significant number of arable farms and livestock holding areas. Contamination of human or animal feeding stuffs could have far reaching implications for human and disposal of contaminated products and animals. Contamination could occur through various means on a local, regional, national or international scale. Such a contamination, however, is unlikely to result in an immediate risk to human health, although it may create longer term health risks. The assessment covers both accidental and deliberate contamination.
Kent has a number of areas of forest and moorland which could result in large fires, particularly during hot and dry conditions. Kent Fire and Rescue Service has specialist equipment to deal with these types of fire, however it would still cause a significant strain on the service, as well as environmental damage and destruction.
Strike action by prison officers
This risk covers the potential for prison officers to take part in illegal strike action. Prisons would become reliant on small number of staff (typically senior level grades) operating the prison on a reduced regime. Plans are in place to parachute additional support via alternative means, albeit it is likely that prisoner movements would be restricted to reduce the need for staff. Restrictions put in place on prisoner movements would have an effect on court activity and potentially increase the risk of disturbances and lack of discipline within the prison. In the most extreme cases the Police could be used to maintain order.
Technically industrial action by prison officers is unlawful, meaning that the normal periods for giving notice and balloting members would be necessarily be apparent. The prison sector is made up of public and private sector operations, means that industrial action is unlikely to affect the entire industry.
Prison officers in public sector are prevented by law from taking strike actions - however they have historically taken illegal 'wild-cat' action on other occasions.
'Wild-cat' strikes (where workers withdraw their labour without a lawful ballot) are illegal and can result in disciplinary action and dismissal.
The activities of Trade Unions are regulated strictly by the Trade Union Act 1992.
There are well tested plans in place to ensure prisons and inmates remain safe and it is unlikely the wider public will notice any difference. There may, however, be disruptions to some services, such as the courts and prison visits.