Responsibility for co-ordinating London’s emergency planning is to delegated to the Greater London Authority following abolition of the Government Office for London (GoL).
The pan-London planning and exercising functions previously carried out by GoL are to be handed over to the GLA with Deputy Mayor of London Richard Barnes taking over Chairmanship of the London Regional Resilience Forum from ministers.
Barnes has previously won plaudits for his chairing of the London Assembly’s 7 July inquiry and its subsequent report.
The changes will also see London’s city-wide government ‘upgraded’ to a Category 1 Responder under the Civil Contingencies Act, making it responsible for carrying out pan-London risk assessments and all aspects of emergency planning.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said the changes “will ensure that London has strong and clear leadership in any crisis. They clarify the vital roles played by different agencies but put the democratic government of London at the heart of the decision making process. We are the hub, we are the heart and we are accountable to all Londoners.”
Talking of the significance of the changes in terms of London’s devolution settlement, the Mayor said: “London is home to more people than many EU member states. Our population is as large as Wales and Scotland combined, yet despite providing this world city with effective leadership, the Mayoralty has historically benefitted from few formal powers, despite substantial informal powers, including resilience planning.
“I continue to make my case that this will no longer do and am delighted by today’s decision to formalise the transfer of responsibility for London’s resilience to City Hall. It shows exactly the right confidence in City Hall from Government and is a recognition that in the past too much has been controlled by Whitehall. There is no more room for a weak settlement for London”.