Find thousands of books, manuscripts, visual materials and unpublished archives from our collections, many of them with free online access.

Civil Defence Working Group

Part of
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


Established in 1984, the Civil Defence Working Group was concerned with health service planning and civil defence plans in the event of a nuclear war or accident. The group worked with Nuclear Free Zones, liaised with the BMA regarding their reports into civil defence and health, and monitored and analysed government civil defence publications. The group planned the publication of a leaflet refuting the claims made in the Home Office's Protect and Survive publications. The leaflet was to be called Prevent and Survive, but the project was abandoned in 1987.

The 1983 Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) Regulations came into effect in December 1983. The regulations stated that local authorities must take responsibility for local civil defence, including the provision of emergency centres, arranging suitable staff training, participating in training exercises, and making and updating civil defence plans for their local area.

In response to the passing of the Civil Defence Regulations, a number of local authorities declared themselves Nuclear Free Zones. NFZ Councils resisted Government requirements to draw up plans in case of a nuclear attack, believing that such plans would be futile in the case of an attack. Under pressure from the Government, NFZs moved towards an approach of minimal compliance, drawing up 'planning assumptions', both as a delaying tactic and to provide more realistic scenarios of a nuclear attack. As well as standing in opposition to civil defence policies, NFZs also raised concerns over the transportation of nuclear waste. In 1984, the Nuclear Policy Unit was established by GLC to produce information and develop Councils' nuclear free zone policies.

In 1985, a survey of community physicians, jointly organised by MCANW and the Faculty of Community Medicine, investigated civil defence planning and guidance in the health service. This resulted in the publication of D S Josephs, P A Sims, "War Planning in the Health Service: a survey of community physicians", Community Medicine 8, (1986).



Physical description

8 boxes

Permanent link