News      |      Events

BBC cuts ‘may threaten emergency advice messages’

Thursday 22 Dec 2011
Cuts to BBC local radio may jeopardise emergency broadcasts during the event of a civil crisis, the Local Government Association has warned.

BBC cuts 'may threaten emergency advice messages'

The LGA said proposals to share more programming and stop some mediumwave services would threaten advice messages during emergencies like flooding.

It said the BBC was underestimating the “risks to people’s safety” as communities relied on it in a crisis.

The BBC said local radio would continue to have a key role in an emergency.

The corporation wants to axe mediumwave output in areas where alternative FM services are available.

The LGA, which represents over 350 local authorities in Wales and England, said the FM frequency often broadcast “cracking static”.

Its Culture Board Chairman Chris White said: “Local radio plays a key role in how councils manage an emergency and the BBC regularly sits on planning panels along with police and fire authorities.

“Time and time again these arrangements have proven invaluable to local communities, from updates about school closures, heavy snowfall, road accidents and flooding, to bulletins about more unforeseen emergencies such as train crashes or dangerous criminals on the loose.

“People rely on councils for the latest information, and we rely on local radio.”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “BBC local radio will continue in times of crisis or emergency. That will not change.

“The proposal is to end mediumwave transmissions, except for stations where listeners depend on mediumwave as an alternative to FM.
 “The BBC Trust is consulting on these proposals and no decision has as yet been made.”