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Emergency powers to tackle terrorism.(Civil Contingencies Bill)

The Civil Contingencies Bill published last month provides a single framework for civil protection, repealing outdated legislation from the Emergency Powers Act 1920 and the Civil Defence Act 1948. A Cabinet Office spokesperson said the legislature would improve the UK's ability to "deal with the consequences of major disruptive incidents by improving the planning process at a local level, building better contacts between agencies and improving the link between local areas and central Government."

The Bill allows ministers to issue emergency orders without Parliament's approval, such as in the case of major storms, floods or terrorist attacks. A meeting would be called of the emergency command group Cobra to decide whether a state of emergency should be declared.

An emergency is defined as 'an event of situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare, the environment or the security of the UK or a place in the UK', such events would have to include: 'damage to property, homelessness, human illness or injury, loss of life, disruption of supplies of money, food, water, energy and fuel, disruption of transport, health services, electronic of systems of communication . …

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