Tarragona chemical emergency plan revamped after explosion six weeks ago
Interior minister says plan "empowers" area and "simplifies" decision-making
The government is to bring back Tarragona's plan for chemical emergencies (Plaseqta), 13 years after it was incorporated into the Catalonia-wide chemical emergency plan (Plaseqcat).
The move sees Tarragona regain management of chemical emergencies six weeks after an explosion and fire at the IQOXE chemical plant near resulted in the deaths of three people.
On Tuesday the government will approve the adoption of the plan, which will be implemented over the course of six months and be led by the government’s delegate in Tarragona.
"We will empower the area and give it all the tools [it needs]," said Catalan interior minister Miquel Buch, emphasizing that Plaseqta "simplifies" decision-making.
"This plan foresees scenarios with heightened responses to emergencies," he added.
Plaseqta will apply to the main chemical industrial estates around the southern Catalonian cities of Reus and Tarragona, an area affecting 29 municipalities and a population of almost 370,000.
Six weeks ago, there was controversy among locals that emergency sirens were not sounded in the aftermath of the IQOXE incident, and indeed the civil protection agency accused the company of not following the correct emergency communication protocols.
The Plaseqta plan foresees that people will be instructed to confine themselves indoors at the first signs of a serious chemical accident, such as the recent incident at the IQOXE plant.
Buch added that, although "not recommended" unless specifically advised, local councils will also have the power to activate emergency sirens.
The government plans to invest almost seven million euros over the next four years implementing the plan.