Memorandum submitted by the Government
Office for Science and the Cabinet Office (SAGE 00)
Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from
the Cabinet Office, 14 September 2010
I write in regard to the questions that the
House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has set out
as part of its inquiry into "Scientific Advice and Evidence
I attach a memorandum, preparation of which
has involved the Department of Health, Department for Transport,
Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Home Office,
Department for Energy and Climate Change, Centre for Protection
of National Infrastructure, Department for Business, Innovation
and Skills, Ministry of Defence and the Devolved Administrations.
Propriety and Ethics Team
Planning for Emergencies
The management of the risks of civil emergencies
in the United Kingdom is coordinated by the Cabinet Office. The
Civil Contingencies Act 2004, together with its supporting statutory
guidance, provide the framework for civil protection activity
by local emergency planners and responders around the country.
The Cabinet Office works in partnership with other Government
departments and the Devolved Administrations.
The Civil Contingencies Act defines the meaning
of emergency as an event or situation which threatens serious
damage to human welfare, or the environment, in a place in the
United Kingdom; or war, or terrorism, which threatens serious
damage to the security of the UK. It defines the duties of local
emergency responders inter alia to assess the risk of emergencies,
to maintain plans, and to maintain arrangements to warn and provide
information and advice to the public.
Since 2004 the Government, through the Civil
Contingencies Secretariat (CCS) in the Cabinet Office, has maintained
a capacity at the national level to provide guidance and support
to local emergency responders in these areas, through a National
Risk Assessment process, and a national Resilience Capability
Programme. Since 2008, a National Risk Register has been published,
indicating the main kinds of emergency for which communities and
local commercial organisations may wish to prepare themselves.
This is in addition to the primary function of the CCS to coordinate
the crisis management response to terrorist and other civil emergencies.
The National Risk Assessment and Register, and
the crisis management response, are all underpinned by scientific
advice coordinated by the Government Office for Science (GO-Science),
under the Government Chief Scientific Adviser.
The GCSA provides advice directly to Ministers and uses the Scientific
Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) mechanism (detailed below)
to ensure that the advice given is coherent, robust, identifies
key areas of uncertainty and is externally peer reviewed wherever
The National Risk Assessment and Risk Register
The National Risk Assessment process (NRA) is
a comprehensive, classified assessment of the most significant
emergencies (malicious and non-malicious) that people in the United
Kingdom could face over the next five years. This confidential
assessment draws on expertise from a wide range of departments
and agencies of Government. It is used for planning for emergencies
at a Government level, and to provide guidance to local emergency
planners and responders on the kinds of risks which they may need
to assess and plan for in their local area. The objectives are:
to assist in the prioritisation of risks for emergency planning
purposes; to enable reasonable quantitative and qualitative estimates
to be made of the likely consequences that need to be planned
for; and to facilitate risk communication in both these areas
(weight and impact) to be communicated to those planning for emergencies,
in the public, private and community and volunteer sectors.
The NRA is updated annually. There are three
stages to the assessment: the identification of risks; assessment
of the likelihood of the risks occurring and their impact; and
comparison of the risks. All three stages involve consultation
of Subject Matter Experts and a standard process is used that
is designed to ensure that the assessment of all individual risks
is, to the extent possible, on a comparable basis:
Risks are identified by consulting, through
Government departments, a wide range of experts who are able to
take an informed view of the seriousness of the risks according
to the criteria in the Civil Contingencies Act. After initial
scrutiny, most proposals are taken forward into a detailed assessment
phase; some may kept under review.
The assessment is done on the basis of
an agreed "reasonable worst case scenario". This concept
is designed to exclude theoretically possible scenarios which
have so little probability of occurring that planning for them
would be likely to lead to disproportionate use of resources.
They are not predictions of what will happen or the most likely
manifestation of a particular type of hazard.
Risks are assessed using objective historical,
statistical and scientific data where they are available; where
possible, the assessment looks forward to take account of known
or probable developments over the next five years. In the case
of the risks of terrorist or other malicious attacks, the risks
are assessed more subjectively. The willingness and motivation
of individuals or groups to carry out attacks is assessed and
balanced against what is known of their capability and capacity,
and the vulnerability of their intended victims or targets.
Impacts are assessed against five main
criteria: the numbers of fatalities that are likely to be directly
attributable to the emergency; the extent of human illnesses or
injury over a period following the onset of an emergency; social
disruption, under ten headings designed to measure significant
disruption to people's daily lives; economic damage; and the potential
for significant outrage and anxiety to be caused to communities.
Most types of risk are reviewed every year,
but some at longer intervals by experts within Government departments
most affected. Existing structures within these departments provide
independent scientific or technical advice, eg the Pandemic Influenza
Preparedness Programme (PIPP) in DH which advises on pandemic
flu, which feeds into the assessment process through this inter-departmental
Since 2008, an unclassified version of the National
Risk Assessment, The National Risk Register (NRR) has been produced,
designed to assist individuals and communities interested in improving
their own preparedness for emergencies. The NRR
is publicly available and provides an indication of the types
of risks the UK faces and an indication of what the Government
is doing to prepare for them.
Concept of Operations for the UK Central Government
Response to Emergencies
Responding to Emergencies: The UK Central
Government Response: Concept of Operations (Conops) guidance
also sets out the guiding principles and a framework for emergency
management. Wherever possible, preparations, planning, response
and recovery are local-led drawing on local expertise and knowledge.
But the scale, complexity and/or severity of some emergencies
mean that these local resources are overwhelmed and assistance
is needed from Government. If an emergency impacts on multiple
sectors, as is often the case, collaboration between Government
departments is required. This function is fulfilled by the Cabinet
Office Briefing Room (COBR) which facilitates collaboration and
aims to ensure an effective, efficient response.
When COBR is activated a Lead Government Department
(LGD) is appointed to provide leadership. LGD's are appointed
using a pre-determined list of department roles and responsibilities.
Where the lead is unclear (eg because the emergency affects a
number of sectors equally) the default is a Cabinet Office lead.
Where an emergency occurs in Scotland, Wales,
or Northern Ireland and falls within the competence of the relevant
Devolved Administration, they will lead the response in their
territory reporting through the relevant minister to the devolved
legislature. In such circumstances there will often be little
if any involvement for UK Government departments. Where an emergency
occurs in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland but competence
is reserved to the UK Government (and therefore the UK Parliament),
the relevant UK Government department will lead the response liaising
closely with the relevant Devolved Administration(s).
Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE)
One of COBR's key functions is to ensure that
there is a common understanding of the evolving situation and
that there is a sufficient evidence base for decision making.
For many emergencies this will involve the provision of scientific
and technical advice. For such occasions the LGD or the Cabinet
Office, in consultation with GO-Science, may activate a Scientific
Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) which aims to provide timely
and coordinated scientific advice by bringing together key experts.
As with COBR, SAGE is designed to be both flexible
and scalable. The arrangement is that SAGE provides the lead for
commissioning and assessing scientific advice from a range of
expert bodies. SAGE is usually chaired by the Government's Chief
Scientific Adviser (GCSA) or a departmental CSA as appropriate.
Where there is a strong departmental lead a co-chair may be appointed;
and the chair and co-chairs may change in the transition from
the response phase of an emergency to the recovery phase. Secretariat
support is provided by the LGD, the Devolved Administration (DA)if
in their areaor by the Cabinet Office and GO-Science where
the LGD is unclear.
The membership of SAGE and any expert groups
is specific to each emergency. Pre-existing scientific groups
and networks will be utilised, where they exist and have appropriate
expertise. Where existing groups do not exist, the GCSA or relevant
officials would identify appropriate experts in consultation with
National Academies, Learned Societies and other relevant professional
organisations and institutions. The precise membership of SAGE
may change as emergency develops or as the UK moves into the recovery
The main role of SAGE is to ensure that there
is a sufficient evidence base for decision making and to provide
timely and coordinated advice. Within this remit the specific
focus of SAGE and its sub-groups may evolve during the course
of an emergency. It provides strategic scientific advice for the
UK and so if devolved issues are involved, due consideration should
be given to the DAs.
Scientific and Technical Advice Cells (STAC)
At the local level emergencies are coordinated
by Strategic Coordinating Groups (SCGs). These groups may also
require science advice in some emergencies. Where SAGE has not
been activated, scientific and technical advice is provided to
the SCG by local Scientific and Technical Advice Cells (STAC).
The decision to set up this group is the responsibility of the
In the event of wide-area emergencies where
more than one SCG might require scientific advice, consideration
would be given to how best to provide local access to specialist
scientific advice recognising the limited number of "experts"
that might be available nationally and the need to maintain consistency
between the UK wide, national, regional and local response.
In some cases, this might best be provided by
disseminating widely strategic advice from the SAGE. In others,
it might be appropriate to set up a support centre to provide
operational advice on request to local areas. Where SAGE has been
activated, the strategic advice it provides should, once endorsed
be applied in a consistent manner regionally and locally.
Testing and Exercising
A framework is in place to test the central
Government response to the wide range of threats and hazards facing
the UK. Exercises involving the activation of COBR are delivered
up to three times per year and their primary objectives include
the provision of science advice in an emergency.
The attached case studies provide further details
on the specific emergencies or potential emergencies that the
Committee has indicated the inquiry will consider. These are (i)
the swine flu pandemic in 2009, (ii) the Icelandic volcanic ash
eruptions in 2010, and the potential emergency situations that
are (iii) solar storms and (iv) cyber attacks.
1: H1N1 (SWINE FLU)
The UK has been preparing for an influenza pandemic
for some years. In January 2002, the Chief Medical Officer for
England published "Getting ahead of the Curve: A strategy
for combating infectious diseases",
which identified a new pandemic as a particular disease threat.
When the first National Risk Assessment was produced in 2005,
human pandemic influenza was therefore identified as a significant
risk; and it has been consistently identified as among the highest
risks, when both likelihood and impact are taken into account,
during annual reviews of the NRA. This was reflected in the first
public National Risk Register (NRR), published in 2008.
The Department of Health (DH) is the lead Government
department for the risk of an outbreak of infectious disease,
working with the Cabinet Office whose Civil Contingencies Secretariat
leads on overall preparedness for emergencies. The Department
of Health is responsible for identifying and assessing the risks,
and for determining policy in preparing for a pandemic.
Current risk assessment and preparations for emergencies
The current risk assessment identifies as the
"reasonable worst case" a flu pandemic caused by the
emergence of a new human influenza virus, with a clinical attack
rate of 25% to 50% of the population spread over one or more waves,
and with a case fatality rate of up to 2.5%. This is assessed
to have a medium high likelihood of occurring over the next five
years, and is based on scientific assessment of pandemics over
the past 100 years and the emerging threats of new viruses such
as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1). More detailed planning
assumptions are at Appendix A.
The UK was considered by the World Health Organisation
to be among the best prepared countries in the world for an influenza
pandemic. The planning framework for preparedness is the joint
Department of Health and Cabinet Office publication "Pandemic
flu: A national framework for responding to an influenza pandemic"
published in November 2007 following extensive work at national,
regional and local level to consider the risks and impacts, including
wider socio-economic impacts, of a pandemic on the case illustrated
by the worst case scenario. The framework provides the Government's
strategic approach for responding to an influenza pandemic and
background information and guidance to public and private organisations
developing response plans.
Each of the Devolved Administrations has developed
its own pandemic preparedness plan, fully consistent with the
UK-wide National Framework, to reflect its own particular circumstance.
This Framework is currently under revision to
ensure lessons learned during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic are captured
for future pandemics. The current planning assumptions are being
reviewed as part of this process to ensure the underpinning science
is robust and the "reasonable worst case" assumptions
remain valid. The revision is due to be published by March 2011.
Scientific input into preparing for a pandemic
Following the publication of the UK influenza
pandemic contingency plan in 2005, a Scientific Advisory Group
on Pandemic Influenza (SAG) was set up to advise UK health departments
or directorates on the scientific evidence base for health-related
pandemic influenza policies.
Under the auspices of the SAG, five scientific
papers were developed in 2006, dealing with the risk of a pandemic
originating from an H5N1 virus, and clinical countermeasures (antivirals,
vaccines, antibiotics and facemasks). These papers underwent significant
peer review by national and international scientific reviewers
in early 2007. These were then further reviewed at a colloquium,
convened by the Secretary of State for Health, of national and
international scientific experts in April 2007. The papers were
agreed by the SAG as reflecting a comprehensive and state of the
art summary as of June 2007. This evidence base is currently being
reviewed by the Department of Health. Any revisions to the evidence
base will be published alongside the revised National Framework
by March 2011.
In 2007, the "Overarching Government
strategy to respond to an Influenza PandemicAnalysis of
the scientific evidence base"
was published by the Cabinet Office. This paper summarised the
evidence base, on which the National Framework and the key planning
assumptions are based. The paper drew on available scientific
papers, modelling, economic assessments, real events, social sciences
and international comparisons.
Following the publication of these scientific
evidence base papers the role of the SAG was reviewed and membership
of the group was expanded to include a wider range of scientific
disciplines including traditional infectious diseases-related
sciences such as virology and immunology, and also sciences such
as risk management, behavioural sciences and diagnostics; an independent
chair, Professor Sir Gordon Duff, was appointed. At this point,
the group was known as the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Advisory
Committee (SPI). The minutes of its meetings are published on
the Department of Health website.
Health departments/directorate also receive
advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation
(JCVI) and the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens, and
work closely with the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser and
the Government Office for Science to ensure that Government is
making best use of expert scientific advice in this area.
International scientific input
Coordinating preparedness for emergencies such
as pandemic influenza can advance international resilience through
development and use of information-sharing networks, by facilitating
consistency of operational plans, and by establishing mutual trust.
The international institutional architecture, multilateral and
bilateral ties enable effective inter-Governmental and inter-agency
This co-ordination also enabled a series of
international conferences of ministers and senior officials focusing
on high-level policy, most recently in April 2010 as hosted by
the Government of Vietnam. In association with these, the major
global inter-governmental agencies hosted a series of specialised
technical consultation meetings to address influenza and wider
related scientific issues. This has helped to ensure rapid sharing
of information across veterinary and human health sectors; enabled
progress on policy challenges including new virus sample-sharing
arrangements; and stimulated close inter-agency collaboration
on emerging zoonotic diseases more generally.
UK scientists play significant roles in many
of the international advisory bodies, such as the World Health
Organization (WHO) and European Centre for Disease Control and
Prevention (ECDC), and have strong connections with key national
bodies such as the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
in the US.
Scientific input into responding to the 2009 H1N1
The Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson,
and Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Sir John
Beddington both attended ministerial meetings during the 2009
pandemic. In order to inform decisions during the 2009 pandemic,
Ministers needed advice on:
The progress of the pandemic.
The clinical impact of the pandemic.
Initially, the Scientific Pandemic Influenza
Advisory Committee (SPI) took the lead in providing preliminary
advice on these issues, pending the establishment of a Scientific
Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) on 5 May 2010.
Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies
(SAGE) Meetings of SAGE were chaired jointly by the
Government's Chief Scientific Adviser and the chair of SPI, Professor
Sir Gordon Duff. SAGE oversaw the scientific contribution to the
national management of the pandemic. It received updates from
the Health Protection Agency (HPA) on case numbers, surveillance,
epidemiology and severity throughout England, and received similar
updates from the Devolved Administrations and the European Centre
for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC). There were 22 meetings
of SAGE between May 2009 and January 2010. Committee members were
not remunerated for their work on SAGE and gave up a great deal
of time to attend meetings and support the work of the committee
despite being under pressure in their day jobs.
A number of key advisory bodies and panels fed
advice into SAGE that was used to produce consolidated advice
to Ministers on key issues.
The three existing SPI sub-committees on Modelling
(SPI Modelling and its Operational sub-group (SPI-M & SPI-M-O));
Behaviour and communications (SPI-B&C) and Clinical Countermeasures
(SPI-CC) met throughout the outbreak and gave regular reports
into SAGE on their activities. SPI-M-O provided advice to SAGE
on the current situation, information on key parameters (case
fatality rate, clinical attack rate, hospitalisation) and the
implications of these numbers for the purposes of planning assumptions.
SPI-B&C also provided advice to Government Departments on
behavioural and communication matters relating to the health response
to an influenza pandemic. SPI-CC provided advice to SAGE on science
and technical matters relating to clinical countermeasures, such
as antivirals and antibiotics.
A number of other advisory groups contributed
to both DH policy development and SAGE advice including: The Pandemic
Influenza Clinical and Operational Advisory Group's Clinical Sub-Group
(PICO-CGS), which provided expert clinical advice recommendations
to support the health and social care response to an influenza
pandemic in the UK; Influenza Clinical Information Network (FLU-CIN)
Strategy Group provided advice on the clinical management of patients
in hospital with pandemic influenza.
Additional ad hoc advice was also provided through
SAGE by the HPA, the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens
(ACDP) and the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues
and Organs (SaBTO). In addition, the Medicines and Healthcare
products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) provided ongoing advice to SAGE
on the safety of antivirals and vaccines through the enhanced
reporting systems it put in place during the pandemic in addition
to the yellow card reporting system.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation
(JCVI), which is the statutory body on vaccination and immunisation,
was also asked to provided advice on matters relating to pandemic
vaccination directly to Ministers. Key JCVI advice was scrutinised
by SAGE prior to recommendations being made to Ministers. The
chair of JCVI was a member of SAGE.
The Devolved Administrations had observers on
each committee. Experts on the committees came from across the
UK and consisted of Government officials, leading academics, clinicians
and other health professionals.
International scientific input
During the H1N1 2009 pandemic, strong bilateral
relationships with Australia, Canada and USA facilitated rapid
sharing of new epidemiological and clinical data on the A/H1N1
virus as the 2009-10 pandemic developed. Strong links with international
organisations such and WHO and ECDC also contributed to SAGE discussions
and advice to Officials and Ministers.
Review of the UK response to 2009 H1N1 pandemic
In March 2010, the four UK health ministers
commissioned Dame Deirdre Hine to review the UK strategy for responding
to the H1N1 pandemic flu. The scope included consideration of
cross-cutting issues affecting the strategic decisions, including
scientific advice. Dame Deirdre's report
was published on 1 July 2010. It contains a chapter on the scientific
advice during the response.
Obstacles to obtaining reliable, timely scientific
SAGE and its sub-groups considered all pertinent
data from both UK and international sources as soon as it was
made available to them. During the first wave of the outbreak,
there was significant uncertainly regarding key parameters, such
as the clinical attack rate, which made modelling the progress
of the pandemic difficult. This was due, in part, to the relative
mildness of the disease (a large proportion of those infected
showed limited or no signs of the disease) and the level of pre-existing
immunity in the population. It was not until a fieldable test
to confirm H1N1 could be developed, and a serology baseline performed,
that these factors could be confirmed. This information was key
to understanding the future development and impact of the outbreak.
By the end of the first wave, data became available and these
parameters were clearer and modelling provided accurate figures.
A decision on the amount of vaccine to procure
needed to be made early in the outbreak, to ensure that the vaccine
was produced in time to be useful. This meant that the decision
had to be made during a period when there was still significant
uncertainty about the nature of the virus. Dame Deirdre Hine recommended
in her review that the four Chief Medical Officers commission
further work to support key decision-making early in a pandemic
by January 2011. The Department of Health is taking forward this
Prior to the pandemic, the Department of Health
had developed a prioritised list of research for departmental
funding and communication to other funders. These priorities were
rapidly reviewed in response to the H1N1 outbreak leading to SAGE
identifying its high-priority areas for research on 9 June 2009.
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) fast-tracked
the commissioning of research in these areas. By 19 August 2009,
14 research proposals were funded, at a cost of £2.25 million.
Collaboration between all the main UK funders
of research continued during the H1N1 2009 pandemic. The Wellcome
Trust maintained a website of all research funded in response
to the pandemic.
H1N1 current situation update
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) continue
to monitor the ongoing situation regarding pandemic viruses mainly
using information reported up to the World Health Organization
from affected countries. The headlines from this information,
along with the UK situation, are then published in the HPA weekly
National influenza report. The HPA also recently convened a flu
threat assessment meeting which reviewed the current global situation
and implications for the forthcoming winter season.
2: VOLCANIC ASH
On 20 March 2010 the Eyjafjallajökull volcano
in Iceland erupted from a side-fissure. Due to the low intensity
and location of this initial activity, impacts were at this stage,
limited to Iceland. On 14 April 2010, the location of the eruption
moved to the central crater and intensified. Unlike the side-fissure
this new vent was covered by a glacier which meant there was significant
interaction between the magma that was being ejected and water
in the form of melted ice. This interaction created an explosive
eruption with an eruption column to 11km and highly effective
fragmentation of material. These factors together with the unusually
unfavourable weather conditions led to significant ash incursions
over the UK and Northern Europe between the 15 and 21 April and
significant disruption to civil aviation, with commensurate side-effects.
On 11 May 2010 volcanic activity at Eyjafjallajökull significantly
reduced. A full timeline of geological events at Eyjafjallajökull
can be found at: http://www.earthice.hi.is/page/ies_EYJO_compiled.
Risk assessments and monitoring prior to April
In the 1990's, the International Civil Aviation
Organization (ICAO), set up an International Airways Volcano Watch
(IAVW). This was in response to a number of reports of commercial
aircraft experiencing technical difficulties whilst operating
in ash plumes, This included the set up of nine Volcanic Ash Advisory
Centres (VAAC) located around the world which had the responsibility
for coordinating and disseminating information on volcanic ash
that might endanger aircraft.
The London VAAC, run by the UK Met Office has
responsibility for monitoring Iceland, the UK and the North-East
area of the North Atlantic. The Met Office is also one of eight
globally located Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres for
atmospheric modelling for environmental emergency response that
are operated under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organisation.
As part of this they developed an atmospheric dispersion model
(Numerical Atmospheric-dispersion Modelling Environment or NAME).
NAME is a sophisticated and flexible model which can be used for
a number of purposes, including the prediction of volcanic ash
plume dispersal. The Met Office's world leading modelling capability,
along with a close working relationship with the Icelandic Meteorological
Office which itself is in close contact with the University of
Iceland, enables it to fulfil its VAAC functions. This pre-existing
work and expertise was essential to the response to the volcanic
ash disruption of April 2010.
For national emergency planning purposes, the
risk of disruption to aviation caused by a natural disaster occurring
overseas was kept under review annually for the National Risk
Assessment (NRA), from 2005 to 2008. No review was undertaken
The provision of scientific advice during the
April/May volcanic ash disruption
On 20 March 2010 when Eyjafjallajökull
first erupted, in addition to performing their usual VAAC functions,
the Met Office notified the Civil Contingencies Secretariat (CCS)
of the emerging risk in accordance with established procedure.
This notification triggered a Health Protection Agency (HPA) and
Scottish Government assessment of the potential health risks of
this eruption. The Government Chief Scientific Adviser discussed
this issue with the Cabinet Office on 15 April, and it was clear
that scientific advice would be needed to deal with the situation,
and assess how it was likely to develop in the coming days. On
the Saturday (17 April) Sir John Beddington met with officials
from CCS to update them on his discussions with the scientific
experts and, at the Prime Minister's request, Sir John Beddington
went to number 10 on the Sunday evening (18 April) to update him
In accordance with the Government's approach
to the engagement of scientific advice in civil contingencies,
the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) was activated
to support COBR, with the Government Chief Scientific Adviser
in the chair. Two lead Government departments (LGD) were identified:
the Department for Transport (DfT) for responding to transport
disruptions and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for
managing the repatriation of UK nationals. To ensure a coordinated
cross-Government approach to SAGE GO-Science acted as the lead
for this group.
SAGE members included both independent and Government
experts, Chief Scientific Advisers from several Government departments
and a representative from the Civil Aviation Authority. Initial
teleconferences were held with members on the 20 April and the
first SAGE meeting was on the 21 April. In total there were four
volcanic ash SAGE meetings, all chaired by the GCSA. It is to
the credit of SAGE members that effective advice was quickly available
in such a short timescale. SAGE provided advice to COBR on the
latest behaviour of the volcano and the current weather patterns,
and how the situation was likely to develop over the coming days.
SAGE also advised on the likely medium to longer term developments
such as potential changes in volcanic eruption. SAGE ensured that
the geology and meteorology underpinning these assessments was
robust, and that any uncertainties were clearly identified.
Sub-groups were created as required to take-forward
individual workstreams. Existing science advisory groups and experts
were engaged as necessary. Many departments provided assessments
of the potential impacts of the volcanic plume to SAGE. For example,
the Department for Health and the Health Protection Agency (HPA)
worked with other relevant departments and agencies, including
the Devolved Administrations, the Met Office and WHO to agree
the current health risk (if any) and prepare for any possible
changes to this assessment. Examples are provided in Appendix
B, which summarises the risks to animal health and the environment
(from the Defra Scientific Advisory Group), and Appendix C on
MOD monitoring of the volcanic plume. The progress and findings
of each sub-group were reported and discussed at SAGE meetings.
In addition to the formal sub-groups virtual working and ad-hoc
meetings were used to collate and discuss advice.
There was a lot of media interest and public
concern at the time. The GCSA and several SAGE members briefed
representatives of the airline industry on the science behind
this incident at an industry briefing day organised by the CAA.
International engagement, particularly with
the Icelandic authorities, formed a key component of SAGE's work.
Existing relationships, particularly between the Iceland Meteorological
the Institute of Earth Sciences (University of Iceland), the British
Geological Survey and the UK Met Office were key to this engagement.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the UK and Iceland
is being drafted to strengthen cooperation in assessing and monitoring
volcanic hazards. The UK also provided a significant contribution
to the EU's European Volcanic Ash Experts Group, led by the Spanish
Presidency through the office of the Department for Transport
Chief Scientific Adviser. UK scientists are also heavily involved
in a range of activities and workshops across Europe focusing
on the impact of eruptive explosions, particularly on aviation.
The use of scientific information during the April/May
volcanic ash disruption
The ways in which scientific advice was used
during the emergency is summarised below.
Early warning, monitoring and modelling
Icelandic authorities and UK experts from BGS
collaborated to use existing monitoring networks in Iceland to
gain as much information as possible on the Eyjafjallajökull
eruption. These measurements were augmented by additional instruments
supplied by the UK to Iceland that increase the density of measurements
around Eyjafjallajökull and Katla. This included the use
of seismic monitoring and crust deformation measurements which
provided some indication of current volcanic behaviour and supported
assessment of possible future developments. In addition to monitoring
in Iceland, rainwater and herbage samples were also collected
across the UK and analysed to identify if elevated levels of contaminants
were occurring that could cause widespread impacts, such as environmental
and health effects. Existing routine monitoring of air quality
continued throughout the incident. The Defra science group, worked
with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Scottish Government,
Welsh Assembly Government and Department of Agriculture and Rural
Development (DARD) as well as the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute
(AFBI) in Northern Ireland to ensure that environmental sampling
and analysis strategy was consistent in terms of methodology and
procedures across the UK.
A range of empirical data was provided by volcanologists
and atmospheric scientists (both British and Icelandic), including
observations from the ground, satellite imagery and airborne measurements.
Where appropriate, additional observations and data were input
into the pre-existing NAME model. Maps of ash concentration, at
a range of flight levels, were produced from this modelling. Observations
of airborne volcanic ash proved challenging, both in the vicinity
of the volcano and at a distance, because of the limited number
of observation sites. Separate observations from ground based
airborne measurements (collected by NERC) and satellite imagery
were used to validate the outputs of the model. This indicated
that the outputs were good and within an order of magnitude, though
it should be noted that even this level of accuracy presents challenges
when outputs are to be used to define flight zones. NAME was used
to provide 24 hour forecasts with air traffic control and COBR.
As CAA, in discussion with the airlines and international aviation
partners, developed modified procedures for safe flight operation
in ash plumes, the outputs of the NAME model were adapted to provide
additional information as required. The creation of flight zones
determined by ash concentrations, rather than based on the presence
or absence of ash as required by ICAO, increased the demands on
the modelling. The Met Office continued to improve the outputs
of NAME to produce maps showing concentrations for each respective
Assessing the emerging risk
As with all emergencies the evolving risk and
future prognosis was assessed to help inform decision making through-out
the volcanic ash disruption of April 2010. This included the assessment
of for instance the immediate risks posed by an eruption of neighbouring
volcano, Katla, which historical records indicate could accompany
or follow an eruption at Eyjafjallajökull.
Scientific experts (led by relevant experts
from SAGE) were asked to identify the key factors that would influence
whether Icelandic volcanic eruptions could have consequences in
the UK and the extent, scale and nature of these disruptions.
SAGE used this information to develop a range
of plausible indicative scenarios, and to identify knowledge gaps
to attempt to reduce the uncertainty in these scenarios. Ad hoc
groups were set up to explore:
the potential link between Eyjafjallajökull
and Katla eruptions to determine the probability of a Katla eruption
following closely on activity at Eyjafjallajökull;
historical and geological records to
determine the most likely duration and intensity of Eyjafjallajökull
(and possible Katla) eruptions; and
climatic records, to determine the likelihood
of unfavourable weather conditions (predominantly NW flow) coinciding
with Icelandic volcanic eruptions.
Understanding aircraft engine ash tolerances
Until May 2010 ICAO international guidance advised
that aircraft avoid ash. Until the Eyjafjallajökull eruption
these guidelines had been considered sufficient as aircraft had
been able to re-route around ash incursions which were generally
localised. The ash incursion generated by the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull
eruption covered one of the most congested airspace regions in
the world over Europe and the trans-Atlantic routes between Europe
and North America, making re-routing virtually impossible.
As engine ash tolerances were unknown, the Civil
Aviations Authority (CAA) took the lead in incrementally improving
the understanding of aircraft operations in ash. In doing this
they engaged with aircraft and engine manufactures and other European
and International regulators. As understanding increased, the
DfT Chief Scientific Adviser peer reviewed this emerging advice
through a DfT science group, and reported to SAGE. Further details
on the work of CAA and the DfT science group can be found in appendix
Assessing the risk of volcanic hazards more generally
SAGE has initiated work to assess the longer-term
risks posed by volcanic hazards of this kind, as part of the review
of these risks in the National Risk Assessment. This review has
examined the main categories of risk (explosive eruptions like
Eyjafjallajökull that eject mainly ash; and effusive eruptions
which eject mainly lava and gas). It has assessed what is the
reasonable worst case for an explosive eruption, and for an effusive
eruption. Given the historical precedent of the 1783-84 effusive
eruption of Laki, it has also considered what the likely sulphur
dioxide levels from a modern Laki-type eruption might be. In accordance
with the usual risk assessment process, the relative, and indicative,
probabilities attaching to the main scenarios are being calculated;
and an assessment being made of the main impacts of each in terms
of public health and social welfare, and economic activity. When
complete, the results will be included as appropriate in the National
Risk Assessment and public Risk Register.
3: SEVERE SPACE
Space weather includes a variety of solar phenomena
that disturb the upper atmosphere and near-space environment of
the Earth and damage space and ground-based technologies.
The largest recorded space weather episode is
known as the Carrington event that happened in 1859. Since then,
a number of similar but smaller solar events have occurred, the
most recent in 2003, which had impacts upon power networks, airline
flights and spacecraft operations.
Indications that the severity of future space
weather events may be much greater than those experienced in 1921,
1989, and 2003, led to this being identified as a risk to be assessed
during preparation of NRA 2010. When complete, this new assessment
will enable appropriate planning for the impacts of this hazard,
which are likely to affect the electricity transmission sector,
satellite and other telecommunications sectors.
Current NRA risk assessment
The reasonable worst case scenario (a plausible
yet challenging manifestation of this phenomenon) has been agreed
with the cross-Government Risk Assessment Group, which has drawn
on the expertise of the Science and Technologies Facilities Council,
through the Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory. The British Geological
Survey, which first highlighted the potentially growing risk,
was also involved in the assessment.
The "reasonable worst case scenario"
in the next five years was assessed to be more severe than previously
expected. Work is continuing with space scientists, the satellite
industry, representatives from the National Grid, Government departments
and other agencies to understand fully the potential impact. This
includes both the direct impact on infrastructure and technologies
vulnerable to different space weather phenomena and also the secondary
effects on sectors reliant upon these technologies
Involvement of scientific advice in assessing
impacts of severe space weather
Early work to assess impacts has centred upon
the National Grid system and hence the assessment for this sector
is further advanced than for other sectors. Initial discussions
with space scientists, Government departments and the National
Grid have focused on identifying elements of the electricity transmission
hardware that could be vulnerable to solar-generated geomagnetic
storms of a significantly greater severity than those experienced
in recent decades. Experts from the British Geological Survey,
the Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory, Oxford and the Electric Infrastructure
Security council have also been part of consultations examining
National Grid geomagnetic forecasting and monitoring capabilities
and the contingency measures the network have in place in the
event of severe space weather. DECC's Chief Scientific Adviser
has also asked DECC's Scientific Advisory Group to advise on the
risks to the electricity distribution network.
Solar winds and radiation storms can temporarily
disrupt and/or permanently damage satellites and spacecraft that
support key applications including communication, position, location
and timing systems such as GPS, and Earth observation, including
meteorology and security surveillance applications. Work to assess
the impacts in this sector in the Cabinet Office has involved
central Departments, Defence Science and Technology Laboratories
and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI)
and the UK space industry. CPNI are currently undertaking an investigation
looking specifically at dependencies of UK infrastructure upon
satellite technology. The findings of both these studies will
inform wider discussions between space scientists, the national
infrastructure and satellite industries about resilience to space
The UK Space Agency supports several spacecraft
currently observing the Sun. Data from these observations assist
in assessing the risks to the Earth's technologies and infrastructure.
Relevant Government departments have been in
discussions with US members of the EIS council who have provided
a perspective of the risk to US-based power network infrastructure.
There has also been engagement with counterparts in USA, Sweden
and EU raising awareness of the need to prepare for geomagnetic
storms collaboratively. HMG continues to explore potential ways
to enhance international coordination in circumstances such as
Once an agreed cross-Government understanding
of the main impacts of severe space weather is achieved, a full
risk description and assessment will be added to the National
The assessment will also inform 2011 Sector
Resilience Plans, which are produced annually, by each lead department,
as part of an ongoing assessment to increase Government's understanding
of the level of resilience of the UK's critical infrastructure
to natural hazards. Plans are developed for the nine infrastructure
sectors: Water, Energy, Transport, Communications, Health, Emergency
Services, Finance, Food and Government. The Plan should alert
Ministers to any perceived vulnerabilities and set out a programme
of measures (an action plan) to improve resilience where necessary.
4: CYBER ATTACKS
As the UK and our critical national infrastructure
become increasingly dependent on cyber activity, we also become
more exposed to the rapidly evolving range of threats and risks.
The Government has been taking action to secure
cyber space for several years. CESG, the Information Assurance
arm of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), uses its
expertise in this fast moving arena of cyber security to provide
help and support to Government in dealing with these risks. The
Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) provides
advice on protective security measures and direct technical support
to organisations within the national infrastructure. Individual
Government departments are currently responsible for the protection
of their own systems and infrastructure.
The UK's Cyber Security Strategy was published
in June 2009. The key aims of the strategy are to: reduce risks
from the UK's use of cyber space; exploit opportunities in cyber
space; and improve cyber knowledge, capabilities and decision-making.
In the wake of this, the Office of Cyber Security (OCS) situated
in Cabinet Office, and Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC)
were set up to provide strategic leadership in the cyber domain,
monitor developments in cyber space, analyse trends and improve
the collective response to cyber incidents.
Current Risk Assessment
Since 2005 cyber threat risks have been extensively
covered in the National Risk Assessment (NRA). In the 2010 NRA
there are nine separate cyber risks which, broadly, fall into
two categories: cyber attacks on confidential or sensitive data;
and cyber attacks on infrastructure. To prepare and mitigate the
threat of attacks on infrastructure CPNI provides advice on good
practice on protective security and on communications resilience
using industry expertise and good practice network design principles.
CPNI has also established a broad network of information exchanges
to ensure effective engagement with critical infrastructure providers,
including the exchange of threat and vulnerability information.
As part of the annual refresh of the NRA, each
cyber risk is re-evaluated in terms of its likelihood and impact
and any changes are reflected in the NRA and associated planning
assumptions documents. As is standard for risk of malicious damage
in the NRA, the assessment of likelihood will take into account
an objective assessment of the capacity of those intent on causing
harm through cyber attacks and the vulnerability of their intended
targets. In Autumn 2010 the Civil Contingencies Secretariat (CCS)
will be facilitating a full review of the cyber risks in the NRA
to ensure that the NRA continues accurately to reflect the latest
assessments across Government of the range of plausible cyber
threats to the UK. In doing so the CCS will draw on scientific
advice including scenario planning, horizon scanning and technology
watch activities undertaken by OCS and by other departments and
Individual departments consider cyber threats
as part of their own information assurance and business continuity
planning activities. For example, the Ministry of Defence has
assessed the impact of cyber attack in a wide range of scenarios
to inform ongoing work on the Strategic Defence and Security Review.
In doing so MOD has drawn extensively on scientific advice on
the nature of the current and future threat, alongside operational
analysis and scenario planning techniques.
Response to Cyber Incidents
A variety of mechanisms exist in the UK, both
within HMG and the private sector, to identify and respond to
cyber-related emergencies. Relationships between the primary emergency
response teams covering the Government infrastructure (GOVCERTUK
and MODCERT), critical national infrastructure (CSIRT and many
private sector CERTS) and central Government departments are strong.
Government departments responsible for sectors of the critical
national infrastructure have established links to infrastructure
providers which allows information to be exchanged and action
to be taken. CSOC has defined and shared an incident management
process that enables CSOC to coordinate stakeholder activity in
the event of a serious incident, with OCS (and relevant lead Government
department/s) attending COBR as necessary
The identification and response process to cyber
incidents requires the use of techniques from computer science
(software instrumentation, code analysis) and the use of scientific
method to draw conclusions about the probable cause of the incident
and the nature of the most effective mitigation. CSOC is able
to draw on scientific advice across Government including expertise
within GCHQ and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
(Dstl). CSOC has developed and continues to develop relationships
across the UK cyber community in order to support this activity
with common situational awareness. Exercise White Noise (conducted
by BIS in November 2009) highlighted the benefits of technical
contributions at a high level. However further work needs to be
done to develop mechanisms to identify scientific and technical
experts in industry and academia.
Individual departments have made arrangements
to respond to cyber attacks on their own systems and infrastructure.
For example, the Ministry of Defence Global Operations and Security
Control Centre (GOSCC) provides a focus for the monitoring of
attacks against defence systems, and the co-ordination of MOD
response actions. The GOSCC works closely with the CSOC to ensure
a consistent and effective national response. The MOD is able
to draw on specialist scientific advice from the Cyber and Influence
science and technology centre within Dstl, as well as from a broader
network of strategic partnerships with information infrastructure
and system providers
These mechanisms have been tested in several
genuine cyber incidents of limited scale. A number of cyber-specific
exercises are being coordinated by CSOC, including UK play in
the US-led CyberStorm III international exercise later in 2010.
Activity will test existing response mechanisms in CSOC, the CERTs,
HMG, law enforcement, and aspects of the UK critical national
infrastructure provided by the private sector. A second exercise
involving the UK telecoms sector will also take place later this
year, and further exercises are planned for 2011.
OCS leads the co-ordination of the UKs cyber
security strategy, as part of this OCS is developing a private
sector engagement strategy and associated science and technology
plan. OCS also work with the Research Councils, Technology Strategy
Board and individual departments (such as MOD and GCHQ) to ensure
a co-ordinated approach to research and development in this area.
OCS lead international engagement on Cyber issues
with other nations and have established strong links with the
US, Australia and European Allies on Cyber matters. GCHQ, CPNI
and the Ministry of Defence also maintain close liaison links
with their international colleagues.
The geographic independence of cyber attacks
makes international cooperation and coordination vital. CSOC has
started to develop relationships with a variety of international
partners and intends to participate in further international exercises
and knowledge exchanges.
PANDEMIC INFLUENZAREASONABLE WORST
CASE NATIONAL PLANNING SCENARIO
The reasonable worst case is a concept developed
for emergency planning in the UK. This concept is designed to
exclude theoretically possible scenarios, which have so little
probability of occurring that planning for them would lead to
a disproportionate use of resources. They are not predictions
of what will happen but of the worst that might realistically
happen, and therefore we would expect most pandemics to be less
severe and less widespread than the reasonable worst case. By
planning for the reasonable worst case planners are assured that
they have a high probability of meeting the demands posed by the
hazard should it occur.
Up to 50% of the population ill (with
infection attack rates up to 80-85%) (Department of Health 2006c).
Of which, from 10% up to 25% are expected
to have complications, half of these bacteriological. (With possibly
as little as a 35% overlap between the "at risk groups"
and those who actually get complications (Meier et al. 2000).)
Peak illness rates of around 10-12% (measured
in new clinical cases per week as a proportion of the population)
in each of the weeks in the peak fortnight (Department of Health
Absences rates for illness reach 15-20%
in the peak weeks (at a 50% overall clinical attack rate, assuming
an average seven working day absence for those without complications,
10 for those with, and some allowance for those at home caring
for children (Department of Health 2006b)).
Case hospitalisation demand rates up
to 4% with an average six day length of stay.
but, of which 25% could, if the capacity
existed, require intensive care for 10 days.
Case fatality ratios up to 2.5%.
VOLCANIC ASHTHE WORK OF THE DEFRA
Professor Bob Watson (CSA, Defra) and Dr Miles
Parker (Deputy CSA, Defra) convened an advisory network of approximately
40 experts, from an extensive range of disciplines, and held the
first of a series of daily teleconferences on the 16 April. At
the initial teleconference the hazards and environmental media
at risk were identified. Fluorine was identified as the main substance
of concern in the ash. At an elevated level fluorine is hazardous
to human and livestock health. Fluorosis (a condition relating
to the increase in levels of fluoride) is a recognised cause of
mortality of livestock in other volcanic eruptions. In response
DEFRA and colleagues from the Devolved Administrations, put in
place a UK wide sampling and analysis strategy of environmental
samples including rainwater and herbage samples. Existing routine
monitoring of air quality continued throughout the incident.
Sulphur dioxide was identified as a substance
of concern but low risk in this case. An increase in the atmospheric
levels of sulphur would have been picked up by the routine acid
rain monitoring programme and hourly ambient air sampling for
SO2. If these parameters had increased, herbage samples
would have been analysed for sulphur.
The DEFRA Science Advisory group provided regular
updates on the key issues (air quality, drinking water quality,
environmental water and grazing land) to SAGE members. Analysis
of environmental samples returned no significant levels of SO2
or fluorine or increased PM10 values.
If significant ash deposition did occur DEFRA
would need to consider if other chemical elements were an issue.
This would be based on information of ash analysis from Iceland
as well as ash deposited in the UK. Whilst we do not currently
know what determinants we would need to test for and whether or
not the UK has the analytical capabilities for these, likely determinants
would be sulphur and heavy metals. Identified capabilities already
exist for these.
Regarding air quality, alerts would be raised
with the Health Protection Agency (HPA) if hourly PM10 (particulate
matter below 10 micrometers in diameter) values exceed 500 mcrg./m3
and there is confirmatory evidence in neighboring sites showing
similar increases and/or there is evidence of SO2 exceeding
1,000 mcrg/m3 over 15 mins.
VOLCANIC ASHTHE WORK OF THE MINISTRY
The hazards to the MOD from the volcanic ash
cloud revolved around the potential impact of flying military
aircraft (including fast jets, heavy lift aircraft and helicopters)
through the clouds and this entailed sampling the clouds to determine
their composition. In also entailed establishing an accurate method
of determining in real time where the dangerous particles were
at dangerous levels of concentration within the clouds. The identification
of these hazards was based on known previous incidents of aircraft
experiencing engine problems during or shortly after flight through
clouds of volcanic ash.
The Ministry of Defence provided information
on the contents of the ash cloud through samples taken of the
cloud using a coherent swabbing regime designed to rigorous scientific
standards by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)
and the Materials Integrity Group (MIG), part of 1710 Naval Air
MOD's primary conduit for relaying scientific
advice to wider Government in an emergency such as the volcanic
ash cloud is the MOD Chief Scientific Adviser's (CSA) presence
on the SAGE. In addition, in this emergency, the MOD's CSA took
on responsibility for co-ordinating MOD's S&T response to
the ash cloud and for feeding that in to wider Government scientific
The Ministry of Defence's own ad-hoc coordination
measures, such as the MOD's Chief Scientific Adviser's (CSA) seminar,
also facilitated the sharing of knowledge and ideas, and to establish
contact between involved parties. Links with private-sector organisations
worked well. The MOD CSA hosted a seminar day attended by representatives
of DSTL, the Met Office, the RAF and Joint Helicopter Command,
Rolls Royce, Academia, the Materials Integrity Group and MOD Defence
Science and Technology (DST) to enhance knowledge transfer.
In addition, representatives of MOD DST attended
meeting of the Civil Contingencies Committee (Officials) (CCC(O))
to relay details of Government response back to the relevant sections
of the scientific community.
MOD is therefore now better prepared for a similar
situation in the following respects:
1. The initially developed rapid pragmatic fit
for purpose method for identifying volcanic ash contamination
is currently being further developed as a more scientifically
rigorous process as the contaminating ash composition and distribution
becomes better understood.
2. Dstl are familiar with the nature of the measuring
equipment required and able to provide it at short notice.
3. The contacts within the network of those who
would be involved in any future similar incident are better-established.
VOLCANIC ASHTHE WORK OF THE DFT SCIENCE
GROUP AND THE CAA
Aircraft and engine manufacturers are responsible
for determining what level of ash their products can safely tolerate.
Urgent confirmation was needed on whether such a zero tolerance
of volcanic ash was necessary to maintain flight safety. From
the outset of the crisis, the CAA took the lead in coordinating
international efforts with aircraft and engine manufacturers as
well as airlines and other regulators to develop new measures
to reduce airspace closures caused by volcanic ash. This led to
the establishment of a wider area in which it is safe to fly,
consistent with the framework agreed by EU Transport Ministers
on 19 Aprilthis area being ash concentrations between 200
microgrammes/m3 and 2,000 microgrammes/m3,
commonly referred to as the "Enhanced Procedures Zone"
(EPZ). Manufacturers issued guidance to the operators of their
products on the enhanced procedures applicable to their products
and operators then submitted safety cases to the CAA to support
flight operations in the EPZ.
By 17 May, subsequent work had established a
further new area of operationsthe "Time Limited Zone"for
operations for a limited time at higher ash densities between
2,000 microgrammes/m3 and 4,000 microgrammes/m3.
Again, to operate in this zone, airlines need to present the CAA
with a safety case that includes the agreement of their aircraft
and engine manufacturers. These tolerable limits were agreed by
the aircraft and engine manufacturers on the basis of new research
and analysis based on evidence gained from this and previous ash
encounters. The no-fly zone (concentrations above 4,000 microgrammes/m3)
is under constant review based on scientifically reliable data
available to CAA, industry and other regulatory agencies.
CAA, the UK's independent aviation regulator,
attended SAGE and kept the group informed of key developments,
including evidence-based cases for zoning arrangements. The DfT's
CSA established an aviation sub-group, involving aviation, meteorology,
volcanologist, geology and engineering experts to peer review
the evidence processes to establish threshold for safe flying
in volcanic ash. The subgroup reported outputs and recommendations
In addition, the CAA established a "Blue
Skies Group" bringing together a range of experts, including
SAGE representatives, in aviation, meteorology, geology and volcanology
to consider the long term opportunities for improved management
of the impact on aviation of ash contamination. The group reached
a range of conclusions on managing safety using visible ash, ash
accumulation rates and average ash density contours, and recommended
further work on improving the methodology for modelling eruptive
strength and increasing the usability to the aviation community
of forecasting dispersion products. The recommendations of the
Blue Skies Group are being addressed by the CAA, Met Office and
engine manufacturers in a range of follow-up initiatives to maximise
the volume of airspace that may remain open to airlines in the
event of further Icelandic volcanic eruptions. These initiatives,
in broad terms, seek to establish levels of ash in the atmosphere,
the effect of such levels of ash on aircraft and the means to
manage the risk.
The CAA is also taking a leading role in the
work of the ICAO Volcanic Ash Task Force (IVATF), which has followed
work at the ICAO Regional level to refine contingency plans for
the ICAO Europe/North Atlantic Region, which is also working to
develop means to safely manage flights in the vicinity of ash
and minimise flight disruption.
Government Office for Science and the Cabinet Office
14 September 2010
1 Emergency Preparedness-Guidance on Party 1 of the
Civil Contingencies Act 2004, its associated Regulations and non-statutory
Emergency Response and Recovery Back
This includes advice on social sciences, engineering and technology. Back
The risk assessment process is described at chapter 5 of the NRR. Back
Responders, as defined by the Civil Contingencies Act (2004) have
a statutory duty to prepare for emergencies. Back
The Icelandic Met. Office have national responsibility for response
to volcanic events in Iceland Back
Light Detection and Ranging. Back