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Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (COMAH)

Photo of the BP jetty at GrainThe Control of Major Accident Hazard Regulations 2015 (COMAH) require a site operator to produce internal emergency plans for establishments where a dangerous substance is stored in quantities listed in Schedule 1 of the Regulations or if a specified dangerous substance could be produced in threshold quantities following the loss of control of an industrial chemical process.

Medway Council is responsible for producing an external plan that outlines the co-coordinated response of agencies to an emergency that has external implications. The internal and external plans need to correspond to ensure that an effective multi-agency response to an emergency affecting the site and the surrounding area is achieved.

The objectives of these, as determined in the COMAH regulations, are to:

  • contain and control incidents so as to limit damage to people, the environment and property
  • implement the measures necessary to protect people and the environment from the effects of major accidents
  • communicate the necessary information to the public and to the emergency services and authorities
  • provide for the restoration and clean–up of the environment following a major accident.

It is a requirement of the COMAH regulations that the emergency plans, internal and external, should be tested and reviewed at least once every three years.

A major accident, as defined in the COMAH regulations, means “an occurrence (including in particular, a major emission, fire or explosion) resulting from uncontrolled developments in the course of the operation of any establishment and leading to serious danger to human health or the environment, immediate or delayed, inside or outside the establishment and involving one or more dangerous substances”.

There are currently two upper-tier COMAH sites within Medway:

Grain Village siren

A siren has been installed in Grain village that would be used in the event of an incident occurring at the National Grid Grain LNG site that requires the activation of the external emergency plan.

There are two different siren tones: on hearing the alerting included siren sound (mp3 316KB) you should: Go in, stay in, and tune in.

A different tone will sound the all clear (mp3 316KB). This will mean the incident is contained and any leak of LNG stopped.