Analysis of Law in the United Kingdom pertaining to Cross-Border Disaster Relief Prepared by: For the 30 June 2010 Foreword

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Analysis of Law in the United Kingdom
pertaining to
Cross-Border Disaster Relief
Prepared by:

For the

30 June 2010

The United Kingdom is in the fortunate position of being less susceptible to large-scale natural disasters than many other countries. Even so, and as recent years have shown, our territory may still be subject to such emergencies as flooding, and the effects of severe winter weather.
The purpose of this study, commissioned by the British Red Cross, is to examine the extent to which the legal, administrative and operational framework for disaster response within the UK is able to facilitate potential international relief into our territory, in the event of a large-scale disaster requiring such assistance from beyond our borders.
Using the Guidelines for the Domestic Facilitation and Regulation of International Disaster Relief and Initial Recovery Assistance (IDRL Guidelines), adopted in 2007 at the 30th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the report recommends a number of possible actions by which the domestic disaster framework may be further strengthened in relation to potential incoming international assistance.
The British Overseas Territories are also touched upon and of course they are more susceptible to natural disasters, the response to which may require help from beyond their borders.
The aim of this report is to provide recommendations based on a realistic assessment of the UK’s possible future need for international relief in relation to potential future natural disasters, bearing in mind our traditionally robust domestic emergency response capacity. It is hoped that these pragmatic recommendations may be useful to those domestic policy-makers and legislators charged with overseeing the UK civil contingencies framework.
This report has benefited from the generous comments of a number of individuals, including, among others, Dr Simon Strickland, Mr David Fletcher and Mr Simon Whitbourn (UK Cabinet Office), Mr David Fisher (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies), Mr Tim Gordon (HMRC), Mr Gordon MacMillan (Hanover Associates UK), Mr Roy Wilshire (Chief Fire Officer, Hertfordshire County) and Ms Moya Wood-Heath (British Red Cross).
We also wish to thank the authors of this report, Justine Stefanelli and Sarah Williams of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, who were assisted by Katharine Everett, Frances McClenaghan, Hidenori Takai and Payam Yoseflavi.
Michael Meyer

Head of International Law

British Red Cross
30 June 2010

The views expressed in the report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the British Red Cross.

This report is part of a wider study on cross-border disaster assistance within the EU, carried out in conjunction with five other European National Societies, under the overall coordination of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The wider project received funding from the European Commission, who bear no responsibility for the content or use of the information contained in this report.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary 8

a. Basic Statistics 24

i. Geography and climate 24

ii. Population and population centres 25

iii. Economic and political factors 25

b. Executive Structure 26

i. England 27

ii. Scotland 27

iii. Wales 28

iv. Northern Ireland 28

v. Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories 29

vi. London 30

c. Legal Framework 30

i. EU law 31

ii. European Convention on Human Rights 33

d. The UK’s Most Likely Disasters 34

e. Past Disasters in the UK 37

f. Disasters and the Overseas Territories 39

g. The United Kingdom and International Assistance 40

i. Provision of international assistance abroad 40

ii. Receipt of international assistance 40

iii. The UK and external options for civil protection 41

EU Civil Protection Mechanism 41


Bilateral and regional agreements 41

h. Civil Contingencies Act and Implementing Regulations 43

Part 1 43

Part 2: Emergency powers 44

i. CCA Regulations and Guidance 49

j. Other Legal Bases for Emergency Powers 50

i. Emergency Powers Acts 1920 and 1964 50

ii. Local Government Act 1972 50

iii. Supply Powers Act 1975 51

iv. Specific legislation in other sectors 51

Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005 51

Water Resources Act 1991 51

Energy Act 1976 52

Electricity Act 1989 52

Railways Act 1993 52

Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 52

Terrorism 52

v. Royal Prerogative 53

vi. Common law 54

k. Level of Emergency 55

l. Responding Actors 56

i. Central Government 56

Civil Contingencies Secretariat 56

Cabinet Office Briefing Room 57

Lead Government Department 58

ii. Devolved Administrations 58

Scotland 59

Wales 60

Northern Ireland 61

iii. Local and Regional Resilience 63

iv. Local Authorities 64

v. London 64

vi. Role of the Military 64

vii. Crown Dependencies 66

viii. Overseas Territories 66

ix. National Red Cross Society and other voluntary organisations 67

x. Private Sector 69

m. Public Information and Information Exchange 71

n. Data Protection 72

i. Data Protection Act 72

ii. Civil Contingencies Act 74

iii. Human Rights Act 74

iv. Common law 74

v. Guidance 74

o. Co-ordination of Relief 75

p. External Early Warning 76

q. UK Focal Point 80

r. Form and Content of Requests for Assistance 81

s. Termination of Relief 81

t. Entry of Personnel 82

i. The UK and the Schengen Agreement 82

ii. UK Immigration Law 83

iii. UK immigration status of foreign civilian aid personnel 84

International agreement 85

Charity Workers 86

Religious Workers 86

General discretion 87

u. Recognition of Professional Qualifications 87

i. General system for recognition 88

ii. Specific professions 89

Doctors 90

Nurses 91

Paramedics 92

Engineers 92

iii. Expedited procedures 92

v. Customs and Taxation 93

i. Taxation 94

Exemption from VAT 94

ii. Customs 96

Relief imported into the UK 96

Temporary admission 97

Purchases with charity funds 98

Relief originating from or transiting across the UK toward other countries 100

w. Telecommunications 100

x. Currency 101

y. Transport 103

i. Road 104

ii. Air 106

UK registered aircraft 106

International flights 106

Emergency powers 108

iii. Rail 108

iv. Maritime 109

z. Motor Vehicle Insurance, Registration and Temporary Importation 110

i. Insurance 110

ii. Licensing and registration 111

iii. Temporary importation 112

aa. Rescue Animals 113

bb. Food 114

cc. Medicines 116

i. Pharmaceuticals 117

ii. Controlled substances 117

dd. Extended hours 118

ee. Public Procurement Rules 119

ff. Domestic Legal Status 121

gg. Privileges and immunities 121

i. Civil protection officials 121

ii. Diplomatic and consular officials 122

Recognition of privileges and immunities 122

iii. International and regional organisations 123

Recognition of privileges and immunities 123

United Nations and its agencies 123

iv. Liability protections 124

v. The Tampere Convention 124

hh. Private sector and individual assistance from abroad 124

i. Charitable funds 124

ii. Accountability of Affected State Government 125

i. Civil liability 125

Liability of public authorities 126

Judicial review 127

UK human rights framework 127

ii. Criminal liability 128

Corruption, misappropriation and bribery 128

Fraud 130

jj. Accountability of Assisting Actors 130

i. Corruption 130

ii. Fraud 131

iii. Civil liability in tort 131

iv. Statutory liability 132

v. Employment Law and Occupational Health and Safety 132

kk. Liability and Payment 132

ll. Security 133

mm. Access to Disaster-Affected Persons 134

i. Immigration law 134

ii. Children and vulnerable adults 135

nn. Distribution of Relief 137

oo. Legal Facilities for Aid Providers 138

pp. General Remarks 139

qq. The UK legal framework and the IDRL Guidelines 139

rr. Recommendations 143

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