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Authorisations to perform the functions of the COMAH Competent Authority

The Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 (as amended) (COMAH) place a number of duties on the COMAH Competent Authority (CA). In England and Wales the CA consists of the HSE and the Environment Agency, and in Scotland it consists of the HSE and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

In April 2000 the head of the Hazardous Installations Directorate’s Land Division issued an authorisation which permitted HSE staff to perform the CA’s functions. However, a recent internal audit revealed that the authorisation did not include a provision for HSE staff to notify operators on behalf of the CA that the CA was of the opinion that an area surrounding the establishment is a ‘Public Information Zone’ (which means the surrounding area is likely to be affected in the event of a major accident hazard at the relevant establishment).

Operators should be aware that this does not affect the validity of the decisions made about the extent of Public Information Zones - all decisions remain the same. This matter merely concerns the way in which the information was communicated to operators. The omission has since been rectified by a general authorisation which was issued on 4 December 2009 and signed by HSE’s Chief Executive Officer.

If you have any queries about this notice please refer them in the first instance to:

Tim Beals
Health and Safety Executive
2.2 Redgrave Court
Merton Road
Bootle
Merseyside
L20 7HS

e-mail: Timothy.beals@hse.gov.uk
Tel. 0151 951 4885

2011-08-12