Chemical sites in Dorset that could, potentially, create an emergency situation, and the plans in place to address these risks and reduce their effects.

The regulations

The Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (COMAH) aim to prevent and reduce the effects of any major accidents involving dangerous substances that could cause serious harm to people and/or the environment. In England these regulations are enforced by a Competent Authority (CA), consisting of the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency.

The regulations mainly affect the chemical manufacturing industry. They also apply to other activities where hazardous substances above certain identified thresholds are manufactured, stored or used. These substances are divided into two threshold categories, 'upper tier' and 'lower tier'. Operators of sites that hold larger quantities of dangerous substances ('upper tier' sites) need to meet more requirements than those of 'lower tier' sites.

For 'upper tier' sites an External Emergency Response Plan must be prepared and tested at least every three years. In Dorset this is overseen by Dorset Council to cover areas that may be affected outside of the site's boundaries.

COMAH sites in Dorset

Currently there are two 'upper tier' sites in Dorset: PERENCO Wytch Farm in Purbeck, and Portland Bunkers UK (PBUK) within Portland Port. Organisations that have a role in responding to an incident at these sites can view the Wytch Farm External Plan and PBUK External Plan (password protected).

Members of the public and those who live near Wytch Farm, can download the Safety Code Card and Safety Advice Leaflet which tell them what to do in an emergency at this site. As no residential public property is located nearby PBUK, no cards have been produced for this site.

Contact details for the activation and ongoing communications for these plans are held in the Dorset Local Resilience Forum Emergency Contacts Directory, which is maintained by the Dorset Civil Contingencies Unit (CCU). To access this you are however required to be registered with government’s Resilience Direct. Should you need assistance please contact the Dorset CCU.

If you are a responding organisation but do not have the current password to open documents, please contact us:

Share this page