Civil contingencies in light of Coryton

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

In light of the closure of the Coryton refinery Jon Trickett MP (Member of Parliament for Hemsworth in West Yorkshire) wrote the following letter to the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude MP, dated January 24, 2012:

Dear Secretary of State,

As you are no doubt aware, as a result of the owners, Petroplus, filing for bankruptcy, production at Coryton oil refinery in Essex may be reduced, particularly in the short term. There is a possibility that production may have to stop completely for a period.

Coryton oil refinery supplies 10 per cent of the UK’s fuel and supplies over 20 per cent to London and the South East. There is the potential for considerable disruption.

I am keen to have your reassurances that strong civil contingencies will be put in

place to mitigate the wider impact of any disruptive challenges that may result from

the problems at the refinery.

When were you first aware of the potential problem at Coryton oil refinery and what

assessment of the risks was made by the Government? How resilient are the arrangements which are now in place?

I would be grateful if you could also indicate which other Departments the Cabinet

Office has been working with and continues to work with to form future

contingency plans as the situation at the Coryton refinery continues to develop.

Apart from the current situation regarding Coryton, what preparatory work has been

done in anticipation of future problems that could arise with the UK’s fuel supply?

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely

Jon Trickett MP

Now, with my conspiracy theorist hat firmly on my head I would like to ask as to why the Member for Hemsworth is really asking this.

I very much doubt that his concern is with the motoring pubic as to whether they have enough fuel available but rather the usual government kind of one which means “how can we suppress any panic and how can we suppress any possible rioting in light of shortages at the forecourts”.

So far the motorist, aside from the prices having gone up somewhat again around the London area, will not have felt anything nor will he or she even be aware of the implications of the refinery closing, albeit temporarily. Not that a continuation of operations is guaranteed as yet as no buyer has, so far, been found.

However, if and when shortages do appear, and even if only in the South East of England, the proverbial could very well hit the fan. It will be then also when the motorists may come to understand that cheap and abundant oil is coming to an end and that he or she may have to adjust to a new way of doing things.

The problem is that they will not want to do so and thus riots could very much be on the agenda.

All this during 2012 where there also happen to be the Olympics in London and the government has already decreed that demonstrations of any kind will be illegal during that time and be treated as acts of terrorism. I hate to imagine what would happen if we'd have a little fuel riot or two.

© 2012