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Strategic National Guidance: The decontamination of buildings, infrastructure and open environment exposed to Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear materials

This guide has been produced for those in the public and private sector responsible for contingency planning. It gives basic information on the decontamination and remediation that may be required following a deliberate or accidental release in the UK as outlined below. This document replaces guidance published in 2004 by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (now the Department for Communities and Local Government).

An incident, whether deliberate or accidental (HazMat), involving chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear materials can potentially lead to the loss of life, contamination of the built and open environment, disruption of society and consequential damage to the UK economy. It is therefore important that plans are in place to minimise the effects of such an event, and to plan for recovery following this type of incident.

This guidance builds on the 2004 documents, and offers improved signposting and updated information in a shorter and more accessible format. It also covers key elements in the decontamination process following an incident – from developing the initial recovery strategy through to managing waste and returning things to normal. The principal roles and responsibilities of key organisations have been identified and listed, and planning and precautionary measures have been highlighted to promote better preparedness.

In view of the different types of potential incidents, and the variety of buildings, environments and infrastructure that could be affected, the guidance in this document is necessarily generic. It provides a starting point for the development of more detailed contingency plans to deal with specific incidents. This document also describes the current legal powers available to local authorities in the event of such an incident.

The guidance is part of sensible contingency planning and does not mean that there is an increased risk of terrorist attack using CBRN materials.

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