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Emergency planning 

The Ayrshire Civil Contingencies team

The Ayrshire Civil Contingencies team ensures that the Council will be able to respond in the event of a major emergency. The team is a shared service between; North, South and East Ayrshire.  

The justifications for the 3 councils agreeing to form a joint team are:

  • greater resilience in the response to complex and, or, prolonged emergencies, due to having more trained staff with cross boundary responsibility
  • minimise duplication at liaison and co-ordination meetings
  • streamline systems for plan updates, emergency contact directories and communication methods
  • pool expertise to draw on best practice such as rolling out support staff initiatives, creating a combined pool of officers to act as advisors for the authorities strategic representatives and develop other mutual aid initiatives for pan Ayrshire emergency response
  • unify existing standby emergency duty officer arrangements, creating a robust single system to guarantee an appropriately skilled and equipped officer being available for any immediate co-ordination of an emergency response
  • increasing capacity for future specialisation, rather than the current generalisation of emergency planning officers’ skills. This could be realised through, unifying existing training and plan writing skills, as required for hazardous sites; outbreaks of human disease; pollution; animal health or emergency rest centres
  • staff development in a larger structure would offer improved personal development opportunities leading to improved retention, promotion opportunities and increased morale.


If disaster strikes, or if emergencies develop in Ayrshire, communities will look to the Council for support and advice. The Ayrshire Civil Contingencies Team ensures that the Council will be able to respond in accordance with the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (Contingency Planning) (Scotland) Regulations 2005.

Responsibilities include preparing contingency plans and procedures, irrespective of the nature of the emergency. The main aim is to preserve life and property. Every emergency plan sets out to:

  • mitigate the harmful effects of the emergency on the environment
  • bring about a swift return to normal life in the communities and environment affected
  • encourage all agencies and organisations to prepare for their role

The Civil Contingencies Act

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (Contingency Planning) (Scotland) Regulations 2005 is a framework that places several duties on local authorities to:

  • assess the risks of an emergency occurring and publish a Community Risk Register
  • prepare and maintain contingency plans to make sure we can respond to an emergency
  • co-operate with other agencies to develop multi-agency emergency response
  • warn and inform the public
  • provide advice to the public
  • prepare and maintain plans to ensure continuity of our services during emergencies
  • promote business continuity to local businesses

Organisations work in partnership to address emergency planning issues including, but not limited to:

  • Police Scotland
  • Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
  • Scottish Ambulance Service
  • NHS Ayrshire & Arran
  • HM Coastguard
  • Animal Health

How do we prepare for emergencies?

We have emergency plans for some industrial sites in the area and for emergencies such as:

Severe weather and flooding

Storms, blizzards and freezing conditions causing disruption and damage. Our Service Alerts page will inform you of any disruption to our normal services.

Transportation accidents

Major rail incidents, spillages of dangerous goods from road tankers, marine transport incidents and aircraft incidents.

Oil pollution

Oil pollution and other toxic releases from marine incidents remains a serious threat.

Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2019

In the unlikely event of a radiation emergency the response will be coordinated by:

  • the emergency services,
  • North Ayrshire Council, and
  • other responders supported by EDF Energy.

Detailed advice and information will be put out through local TV, radio and social media. Updates will be published on the websites of individual organisations, as coordinated by Police Scotland. Information about living near a Nuclear Power Station (PDF, 71kb) is also available.

More information

Please note: the Hunterston A OPZ is only 1km and falls within the area of detailed emergency plan for Hunterston B Nuclear Power Station.

Crowd related incidents

Threats that occur when large numbers of the public meet in one place, such as sporting events.

Industrial related incidents

An incident occurring at an industrial site in Ayrshire, or effects of incidents from a site outside of Ayrshire.

Utility facilities

Including gas, water and electricity (Scottish Power and SSE).

Outbreak of infection

Ayrshire has plans in place for pandemic flu, foot and mouth disease and rabies.

Acts of terrorism

Events indicate an increasing awareness of the possibility of terrorist attacks on the UK. The threat to Ayrshire is hard to assess. We have no specific information on the likelihood of such an attack but have reviewed our procedures.

How do we respond to emergencies?

Our response in an emergency is of paramount importance. It requires an integrated and co-ordinated approach.

The Civil Contingencies Plan outlines management and operational arrangements which will direct our response. The Plan follows guidance from the Cabinet Office. Known as Integrated Emergency Management it focuses on the consequences rather than the cause.   

Prepare for and deal with emergencies

Find out more on the Ready Scotland website.

Contact Civil Contingencies Team




0300 123 0900

Out of hours

To access Council support for a major incident, please call the Emergency Response Team (ERT) on 0300 123 0900, then dial 4 and ask for the ACCT duty officer.


Ayrshire Civil Contingencies Team, South Ayrshire Council, 5-7 River Terrace, Ayr, KA8 0BJ