Civil Defence Act 1948

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1948 c. 5


Civil Defence Act, 1948

(12, 13 & 14 Geo. 6.) CHAPTER 5

An Act to make further provision for civil defence.

[16th December 1948]

Be it enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

S-1 Civil defence functions of Ministers.

1 Civil defence functions of Ministers.

(1) It shall be part of the functions of the designated Minister to take such steps as appear to him from time to time to be necessary or expedient for civil defence purposes, and, in particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the preceding words, such steps as appear to him from time to time to be necessary or expedient in connection with any of the following matters, that is to say—

(a ) the organisation, formation, maintenance, equipment and training of civil defence forces and services;

(b ) the organisation, equipment and training for civil defence purposes of police forces, fire brigades and employees of local or police authorities employed primarily for purposes other than civil defence purposes;

(c ) the instruction of members of the public in civil defence and their equipment for the purposes of civil defence;

(d ) the provision, storage and maintenance of commodities and things required for civil defence; and

(e ) the provision, construction, maintenance or alteration of premises, structures or excavations required for civil defence and the doing of any other work required for civil defence.

(2) The designated Minister may make arrangements whereby any of his functions under this section are, to such extent as may be provided by the arrangements, exercised on his behalf by another Minister.

S-2 Civil defence functions of local and police authorities.

2 Civil defence functions of local and police authorities.

(1) Every local authority and police authority shall, for civil defence purposes, and, in particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the preceding words, in connection with the matters specified in paragraphs (a ) to (e of the preceding section, have and perform such functions as may be prescribed in relation to them by regulations to be made by the designated Minister.

(2) Regulations made under this section—

(a ) may require that, as respects the exercise of any functions conferred on them under this section, any local or police authority shall be bound to comply with any directions given to them by the designated Minister;

(b ) may empower authorities on whom functions are conferred under this section to appoint committees (including joint committees) constituted in accordance with the regulations, whether from among their own members or not, may empower those authorities to authorise those or other committees, or other authorities, to exercise all or any of those functions on their behalf as their agents, and may exclude any of those functions from the operation of so much of any statutory provision as would otherwise require that function, or any question connected therewith, to be delegated to, or to stand referred to, or to be considered or otherwise dealt with by, any particular committee or any other authority;

(c ) may empower the designated Minister, where he is satisfied that a local or police authority have failed or refused properly to discharge any functions conferred on them under this section, either himself to discharge those functions in the name and at the expense of that local or police authority or to authorise or require some other authority or person to exercise those functions in the name and at the expense of that local or police authority;

(d ) may, on such conditions, if any, as may be prescribed by the regulations, authorise or require things to be done in contravention of, or without compliance with, any statutory provision regulating or restricting the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land; and

(e ) may authorise the employment of personnel, and the provision, construction or maintenance of premises and equipment, in excess of any limits imposed by any statutory provision.

(3) The reference in paragraph (c ) of subsection (2) of this section to the exercise of any functions of a local or police authority in the name and at the expense of that authority, shall, in relation to a police authority which is the watch committee of a borough, be construed as a reference to the exercise of those functions in the name of the watch committee and at the expense of the council of the borough.

S-3 Grant towards expenses of local and police authorities.

3 Grant towards expenses of local and police authorities.

(1) Regulations to be made by the designated Minister with the consent of the Treasury may authorise or require the payment by the designated Minister of such grants towards expenses incurred by local authorities or police authorities in or in connection with the discharge of functions conferred on them under the last preceding section, and towards expenses incurred by statutory water undertakers as defined in section one of the Water Act, 1948, not being local authorities, in or in connection with civil defence, as may be prescribed by the regulations.

(2) The said grants shall—

(a ) in the case of such expenses as may be prescribed in that behalf by the regulations, be grants which may amount to complete reimbursement of the whole amount of the expenses;

(b ) in other cases, be grants of not more than three quarters of the expenses.

(3) Any grants under this section towards expenses incurred by a police authority in England or Wales shall be paid into the police fund, that is to say, in the case of a combined police authority as defined in section nineteen of the Police Act, 1946, into the combined police fund as defined in that section, and, in any other case, into the police fund as defined in the Third Schedule to the Police Pensions Act, 1921.

(4) No grants shall be made under section eight of the Air Raid Precautions Act, 1937, towards any expenditure incurred after such date as may be specified in that behalf by the regulations first made under this section.

S-4 Powers as to land.

4 Powers as to land.

(1) The designated Minister and any Such local authority as is mentioned in subsection (1) of section eight of the Acquisition of Land (Authorisation Procedure) Act, 1946, may be authorised to purchase compulsorily in accordance with the provisions of that Act—

(a ) any land required by them for discharging any of the functions exercisable by them respectively under the preceding provisions of this Act; and

(b ) in the case of the designated Minister, any land required by any other Minister or any local or police authority for discharging any functions exercisable under the preceding provisions of this Act by that other Minister or that authority,

and that Act shall apply accordingly—

(i) as if paragraph (b ) of subsection (1) of section one thereof (which refers to the compulsory purchase of land by the Minister of Transport under certain enactments) included a reference to any compulsory purchase of land by the designated Minister under this subsection; and

(ii) as if this Act had been in force immediately before the commencement of that Act; and

(iii) as if references in that Act to the confirming authority were references to the designated Minister.

(2) Where, in the discharge of any functions exercisable by them under this Act, the designated Minister or any local or police authority do any work for the purpose of providing or maintaining a civil defence shelter, he or they may, if it appears expedient so to do, do that work and provide or maintain the shelter wholly or partly in, under or over any highway:

Provided that—

(a ) the powers conferred by this subsection shall be exercisable subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed by regulations to be made by the designated Minister, and to such provisions as to compensation as may be so prescribed; and

(b ) in no event shall the said powers be exercised unless the designated Minister or local authority, as the case may be, is or are satisfied that the shelter will not so obstruct the highway as substantially to diminish the utility of the highway to the public.

(3) Any person duly authorised in that behalf by the designated Minister or any local or police authority by whom functions are exercisable under the preceding provisions of this Act shall have a right to enter any land at all reasonable hours for the purpose of inspecting that or any other land with a view to ascertaining whether or not anything ought to be constructed or done thereon or any use made thereof for civil defence purposes:

Provided that a person proposing to exercise a power of entry conferred under this section—

(a ) shall, if so required, produce some duly authenticated document showing his authority;

(b ) shall not demand admission as of right to any land which is occupied unless twenty-four hours' notice of the intended...

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