Civil Contingencies Act:
A Short Guide


Following the fuel crisis, severe flooding in the autumn and winter of 2000, and the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in 2001, the Deputy Prime Minister announced a review of emergency planning arrangements. The review included a public consultation exercise which reinforced the Government's conclusion that existing legislation no longer provided an adequate framework for modern civil protection efforts and that new legislation was needed.

Following public consultation on a draft Bill from June to September 2003 and pre-legislative scrutiny by a joint Parliamentary Committee, the Civil Contingencies Bill was introduced to Parliament on 7 January 2004. Its development was informed from the start by close consultation with key stakeholders in what was an open and inclusive policy-making process. The Bill received Royal Assent on 18 November 2004 and henceforth became known as the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (the "Act").

Overview of the Act

The Act, and accompanying regulations and non-legislative measures, will deliver a single framework for civil protection in the United Kingdom capable of meeting the challenges of the twenty -first century.

The Act is separated into two substantive parts:

  • Part 1: focuses on local arrangements for civil protection, establishing a statutory framework of roles and responsibilities for local responders.
  • Part 2: focuses on emergency powers, establishing a modern framework for the use of special legislative measures that might be necessary to deal with the effects of the most serious emergencies.

Click here to access The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 which is held on the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) website.