The Health and Safety Executive has long experience in providing land use planning advice to Planning Authorities on applications to develop land in the vicinity of major hazards sites. This advice has always sought to help planning authorities achieve an appropriate balance between protection for individuals who live and work around such sites and the need to allow economic and social development. The incident at Buncefield in Hertfordshire has caused us to look specifically at the risks around petrol storage depots and to re-examine the objectives, principles and outcomes of our land use planning advice and to ask whether we have that balance right.
We consider this issue of such importance that we are holding a public consultation, inviting those affected to give us their opinions on our proposals and on where the balance between public protection and new development should be placed.
This consultation document outlines our approach to land use planning and the options for change to the land use planning system around large scale petrol depots
Before the Buncefield accident happened, Government was already considering whether greater emphasis should be given in the land use planning process around major hazard sites to the number of people likely to be affected by any incident, rather just the risk to any one individual. The chance of significant numbers of people being affected by a single incident is often referred to as societal risk. The scope of this consultation does not include this wider issue, but you will have an opportunity to comment on it when a separate consultation document on societal risk is published later in the spring.
We look forward to receiving your views on our proposals.
Deputy Chief Executive (Operations), Health and Safety Executive