One overall civil defence plan for the greater Waikato is being prepared to replace 11 existing plans.
The plan, which will be in place by June 2005, has been forced by the new Civil Defence Emergency Management Act which came into force at the beginning of the month. Under the new law, Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Groups based around Regional Council boundaries will be the main vehicle for managing civil defence emergencies.
The CDEM groups will bring together regional and district councils and emergency services.
CDEM Groups must be formed by June 2003, and a civil defence plan for the Region must be prepared and approved with two years of being formed. Until the plan is in place, all existing arrangements will continue.
Under the new law, Environment Waikato will be primarily responsible for administration and planning activities and will retain its Regional civil defence role while the new plan is being developed. Local councils will retain primary responsibility for local emergencies. John Titmus from the Ministry of Civil Defence said that in the future, civil defence activities will be much better co-ordinated.
Environment Waikato had taken a strong leadership role in addressing civil defence issues for the Region under the new legislation and staff were to be congratulated for the work done, he said.