BBC has secret scripts prepared for use during winter blackouts | The Sun

THE BBC has prepared secret scripts for use during blackouts this winter.

The scripts set out how the broadcaster would attempt to reassure the public should there be a “major loss of power”.

Brits would be advised to use car radios or battery-powered receivers to listen to emergency broadcasts on FM and long-wave frequencies usually reserved for Radio 2 and Radio 4, according to a Guardian report.

One draft script, seen by the paper, warns a blackout could last for as long as two days, with hospitals and police put under “extreme pressure”.

Another states: “The government has said it’s hoped power will be restored in the next 36 to 48 hours. Different parts of Britain will start to receive intermittent supplies before then.”

Its thought BBC journalists wrote the scripts as part of routine emergency planning in order to deal with hypothetical situations.

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These include local details for the regions and nations of Britain.

The corporation has a formal role to spread information across the country in a national emergency, which is part of the government’s civil contingencies planning.

The BBC’s governance framework says: “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.”

While the government works with the BBC as part of the emergency planning process, it is unclear whether it had any input on the scripts.

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A spokesman said: “The government is confident that this is not a scenario we will face this winter.”

A BBC spokesperson said it did not comment on contingency issues.

Ministers have moved to reassure people and businesses that blackouts are unlikely.

However, National Grid, which oversees electricity supplies, has issued a rare warning that power supplies could be hit.

It warned that in the worst-case scenario, it could order planned blackouts for as long as three hours a day if Russia cut off all gas supplies to Europe.

Under the BBC’s draft plans it suggests a greatly reduced temporary radio service from the UK’s emergency broadcasting centre, called the EBC, based in a rural location not acknowledged by the BBC.

It would air half-hourly news bulleting on Radio 4’s FM and long-wave frequencies and a “music service” as well as news updates on the FM spectrum used by Radio 2.

One script, written for a hypothetical news bulletin, says: “The emergency services are under extreme pressure. People are being advised not to contact them unless absolutely necessary.”

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It adds that in Wales an emergency coordination centre has been established, while in Scotland the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is chairing the devolved government’s emergency planning meeting.

It says: “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.”

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