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Island plans in event of a nuclear attack (FOI)

Island plans in event of a nuclear attack (FOI)

Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by States of Jersey and published on 29 October 2015.
Prepared internally, no external costs.


I wondered if it was possible to know exactly what plans Jersey would have in the event of a nuclear attack. Clearly we would not be a direct target but with the power of weapons nowadays that would be of little comfort. I always recall a film called Threads not a nice watch and it paints a pretty dire outcome in the event of an air attack upon the UK.

The current situation in the Mid East together with the NATO alliance, USA and Russia all working in a live war zone is, as far as I can see, a significant threat and may just push humanity to the brink.

I know there was a document called The War Book during the Cold War but does Jersey have anything similar and if so, is it possible to obtain a copy?


Thank you for your enquiry regarded the States of Jersey preparedness for possible nuclear attack. 

The most prominent risks identified as potentially affecting the community are identified in the States of Jersey Community Risk Register. 

This document is available online and can be found in the link below.

Community Risk Register

The Community Risk Register provides the States with the basis for planning and allocation of resources. 

Risks can be identified by any stakeholder and are rated comparing likelihood versus impact. 

The register is reviewed on a regular basis. 

You will note that nuclear attack does not feature on the register as, currently, the likelihood is considered below that required for rating despite the fact that the impact would be very high. 

For a States multi agency plan to be discussed against a specified risk, the risk would normally have to feature in the high ‘orange’ or ‘red’ category.

Due to this, the States does not hold a specific plan dealing with a nuclear attack. Additional guidance is also taken from the UK National Register of Civil Emergencies:

Download national risk register of civil emergencies on GOV.UK (size 440kb)

The UK also provide guidance in the UK Nuclear Emergency Planning Liaison Group which would be closely followed in Jersey and the UK response to overseas nuclear accident.

National nuclear emergency planning and response guidance on UK government website

The overarching plan for dealing with any major emergency or incident is the Emergency Measures Plan which details actions and resources available. 

The Emergency Measures Plan is available online using the link below.

Emergency planning: roles of responder groups

Island preparedness, safety and resilience are discussed biannually at the political level by the Emergencies Council, chaired by the Chief Minister. 

This sets political priorities for the executive body, known as the Emergency Planning Board, which meets three times a year and is chaired by the Chief Executive. 

Both of these working groups receive the latest security and threat assessments from the States of Jersey police, additionally part of the remit of the States of Jersey Emergency Planning Officer is to maintain a ‘watching brief’ on local and global events that may impact on the safety of the Island. 

Both of the entities have strong working relationships with UK and international law enforcement and governmental structures. 

Additionally, a working group known as the Joint Emergencies Services Group, consisting of the emergency service's Chief Officers, hospital and emergency planning regularly meet and can elevate potential issues and suggest strategic action directly to Chief Minister and Chief Executive.

The States of Jersey does not have a specific ‘war book’ detailing the issues to be considered in the aftermath of a nuclear exchange. 

As the government’s focus is more generalised on ‘protecting the community’ the Emergency Planning Law which can be found online using the link below. 

The previously mentioned Emergency Measures Plan would provide the legal and operational direction required.

Emergency Powers and Planning (Jersey) Law 1990

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