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Emergencies can happen at any time, normally without warning and they can have a huge impact on our lives, businesses and infrastructure.

The explosion and fire at the Buncefield Oil depot in Hertfordshire affected a large area in and around Hemel Hempstead. Due to the prompt response from the emergency services, the situation was brought under control and there was no loss of life. However, many surrounding businesses were affected and those with plans for such an emergency survived better than those who did not.

Most emergencies are minor, affecting a few people, but they can happen at any time. An emergency is defined under the Civil Contingencies Act (2004) as:

  • an event or situation that threatens human life or welfare
  • an event or situation that threatens the environment or the security of the UK
  • war or terrorism that threatens the security of the UK
  • a major emergency may stretch local emergency services so that neighbouring emergency services may be brought in to help

Resilience Team

Bedford Borough Council has emergency plans in place and a dedicated Resilience Team who work to make sure that we can effectively respond to emergencies. 

Bedford Borough Council is also part of the Bedfordshire Local Resilience Forum (BLRF), a group of specialists from the emergency services, local authorities, NHS, Environment Agency and others who will co-ordinate the safety and support of people and property affected by  an emergency.

During an emergency the local authority will work to:

  • support the emergency services
  • Support the local and wider community
  • Mitigate the effects of an emergency
  • Take the lead on the recovery.

Emergency contact numbers

  • Anglian Water (water supply and emergencies): 03457 145 145
  • Gas: 0800 111 999
  • Electricity (UK Power Networks): 0800 31 63 105 or 0333 32 32 105
  • Electricity (Western Power Distribution) : 0800 6783 105
  • Environment Agency - Floodline: 0345 988 1188
  • Environment Agency - general enquiries: 03708 506 506