The hon. Gentleman raises an important point about ensuring appropriate consultation with local authorities. That is why we are introducing this framework legislation, along with a number of other policy objectives that we have set for ourselves. I will be happy to address specific points about local authorities in the course of my remarks.
Over the past few years, we have witnessed a range of disruptive challenges to our country. As long ago as the Fennell inquiry into the King's Cross fire of 1987 there has been demand for improved co-ordination and liaison between organisations that prepare for and respond to emergencies. These concerns were still evident in the inquiries into the Southall and Ladbroke Grove rail crashes, the fuel crisis and foot and mouth, which have also shown where frameworks for handling challenges could be improved. Too much has had to be improvised when it could have been better planned for in a co-ordinated fashion. This has been a matter of growing concern for civil protection practitioners for well over a decade.
That is why it would be wrong to characterise the Bill as a single response to
Since that point we have been working hard with the fullest range of organisations to construct the right legislation. My Department, as well as working closely with many Whitehall Departments, Government agencies and the devolved Administrations, has built up close working relationships with key practitioners.