The Knutsford Community Survey, completed by the Town Plan in 2009, found that 49% of 2,632 people responding to the Town Plan survey expressed a great deal or a fair amount of concern about the potential danger to the town from aircraft over-flying the town. Each year, more than seventeen thousand aircraft fly at between 600 and 1,000 feet across the town when approaching to land on a north-easterly runway at Manchester Airport. About another sixty-eight thousand flights, after taking off from Manchester on a south-westerly runway, normally skirt around the northern boundary of the town. In a wider safety context, major emergencies could arise from many other man-made or natural causes. A risk assessment of hazards peculiar to Knutsford is in Section 8 and other nationally defined hazards, their impact and local safety preparations and actions are covered in Section 9.
Community safety concerns were discussed at meetings by Town Plan specialist representatives with both Manchester Airport and the former Cheshire County Council. Following these meetings and a Town Plan recommendation made concerning flight safety at the airport, the Town Plan Report issued in March 2010, reflected community views given in responses to the 2009 Town Plan survey questionnaire. The Town Plan Report undertook to prepare an Emergency Plan the objective of which was to increase the responsiveness and resilience of the community and Town Council to any type of major emergency affecting the town.
The resultant Knutsford Community Emergency Plan, adopted by the Town Council on 10th January 2011, sets in place arrangements to meet the objective above. The Plan was prepared by the Emergency Plan Community Representative (EPCR) of the Knutsford Town Plan organisation in cooperation with Cheshire East Council (Joint East and West Cheshire Emergency Planning Team & Local Area Partnership), Cheshire Police Contingency Planning, Knutsford Neighbourhood Policing Team and Knutsford Town Council.
Aim and Objectives
The aim of the plan is to increase the readiness, responsiveness and resilience of the Knutsford community during any major emergency in the town by establishing an organisation, management structure and procedures capable of reacting quickly and effectively at no notice.
They key four main objectives are:
- To increase the preparedness and resilience of the community enabling it to respond quickly and effectively to any major emergency affecting Knutsford, thus allowing the emergency and public services to focus attention where it is most urgently needed.
- To provide an up-to-date and accessible database that includes key personal contacts, and the location of key buildings and facilities in the town, for use by Town Councillors in their role as Emergency Plan Coordinators, and to assist others (e.g. Emergency and other Services) brought in from outside Knutsford who lack local knowledge, to deal more effectively with the emergency.
- To identify local hazards and where practicable, to reduce the potential harm they may cause; and also to prepare plans to enable the Council and the community to take further action to mitigate the adverse effect of these hazards during an emergency.
- To encourage good neighbourliness so that members of the community look out for and assist neighbours at risk, and inform Councillors or the Emergency Incident Room should they believe a neighbour or someone else needs, or may be in need of assistance.