However, the BBC Broadcasting House in London is preparing for reduced BBC radio service and has already designated an emergency broadcasting center in an anonymous, rural location. In the event of blackouts, the BBC would provide news updates every half hour on Radio 2, Radio 4 FM, and long wave frequencies, while providing special air time for government officials to make emergency announcements.
The BBC has already prepared scripts in the event of a “major loss of power” where phone networks, internet, banking, and traffic lights all go down. According to the scripts, England, Wales and Scotland may be the first to see blackouts, as Europe tries to ration and re-distribute electricity in a manner that is best for the “greater good.”
The Guardian obtained many of these “emergency blackout” scripts, which map out a plan whereby corporations and government officials reassure the public that everything will be alright during a major power loss.
The emergency scripts advise the public to use car radios and battery-powered receivers to listen in for emergency broadcasts. One script warns of a two-day blackout that will put “extreme pressure” on first responders, police and hospitals. “The emergency services are under extreme pressure. People are being advised not to contact them unless absolutely necessary.”
The scripts refer to “emergency coordination centres” being set up in Wales. The scripts also try to calm the public with bulletins that read, “Officials are saying there is no current risk to food supply and distribution. But they’re asking people to look out for vulnerable neighbours and relatives.”
Another script explains that power will be restored within 36-48 hours, and that “different parts of Britain will start to receive intermittent supplies before then.” The scripts also provide special air time for a Cabinet Office minister to make a statement. (Related: German municipalities preparing for dark winter of blackouts, simulate 400 deaths in first 96 hours.)
The overseer of electricity in Great Britain, the National Grid, is warning that power supplies are at risk, especially if Russia cuts off all gas supplies to Europe. The National Grid warned of potential blackouts that will be planned and carried out in three-hour intervals. National Grid’s chief executive, John Pettigrew, said the rolling blackouts will most likely be executed between 4PM and 7PM, when there is insufficient wind to power the turbines.
Under the civil contingencies plan, the UK government can declare a national emergency and use the broadcasting networks to send out emergency messages. Any UK government minister can take over the radio broadcast if the need arises. According to the civil contingencies plan, “If it appears to any UK government minister that an emergency has arisen, that minister may request that the BBC broadcast or otherwise distribute any announcement or other programme.” The Guardian did not uncover any official planned government proclamations, and they were unable to determine whether the leaked scripts were derived from government officials.
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