The new service will provide expert advice and guidance and streamline the ability to decontaminate buildings and the environment after chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) incidents.

Mrs Beckett said that the new service would have a remit to help those responsible for clearing up after CBRN incidents such as local authorities to make sure they have considered and planned for decontamination.

“It will also ensure that if there were such an incident, authorities would be able to call upon a carefully assessed panel of specialist companies to carry out decontamination operations,” she added.

Robert Bettley-Smith has been appointed as the Chief Executive after leading the team responsible for deciding whether the service should be set up in the first place.

In the first seven months of operation the new service should have put into place the first framework for contractors with specialist suppliers who have CBRN decontamination expertise as well as defined its role and response arrangements.

A database of contaminants will be created along with their effects and relevant decontamination techniques.

The service has been set up as part of the cross-government work to ensure the UK is prepared for a range of emergencies, developed under the CBRN Resilience Programme led by the Home Office.

By David Hopkins.

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