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Chemical emergencies in Dorset

Information on chemical sites in Dorset that could, potentially, create an emergency situation, and the contingency planning measures in place to address these risks and mitigate the effects.

The Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (COMAH) 1999 first came into force on 1 April 1999. However, from 1 June 2015, they have been superseded by the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (COMAH) 2015.


The Regulations aim to prevent and mitigate the effects of those major accidents involving dangerous substances, such as chlorine, liquefied petroleum gas, explosives etc., which can cause serious damage/harm to people and/or the environment. The COMAH Regulations treat risks to the environment as seriously as those to people.

The COMAH Regulations are enforced by a competent authority consisting of (in England and Wales) the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency.

The chemical manufacturing industry is mainly affected by the regulations, but also some storage activities, explosives and other industries, where above threshold quantities of dangerous substances identified in the Regulations are manufactured, kept or used.

The substances which cause the duties to apply are detailed in the Regulations, as are the quantities which set the two thresholds ('upper tier' and 'lower tier') for application.

Operators of sites that hold larger quantities of dangerous substances ('upper tier' sites) are subject to more onerous requirements than those of 'lower tier' sites. In view of this, the Regulations state that an External Emergency Response Plan must be prepared and tested at least every three years overseen by the Local Authority (in this case, Dorset County Council) to cover areas that may be affected outside of the site's boundaries.

Currently, Perenco Wytch Farm gathering station near the Studland Peninsula is the only upper tier COMAH site in Dorset. Organisations that have a role in responding to an incident at the site can view the Wytch Farm External Plan (which is password protected) by clicking on the link located to the right hand side of this page.


From this page you can download: 

If you are a responding organisation but do not have the current password to open the above documents, please contact the Emergency Planning Service team on the e-mail address provided below.

Contact details for the activation and ongoing communications for this plan are held in the Dorset Local Resilience Forum Emergency Contacts Directory, which is maintained by the Dorset Civil Contingencies Unit. 


From this page you can access:

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